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Pentagon leak: Jack Teixeira pleads guilty to sharing classified documents

The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking hundreds of classified documents online in 2022 and 2023 pleaded guilty to charges on Monday, WFXT reported.

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Jack Teixeira pleaded guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information. Prosecutors asked a judge to sentence him to 16 years and 8 months in jail, according to a plea deal filed in court.

The 22-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced in September, WFXT reported.

Teixeira shared hundreds of pages of classified information on Discord from December 2022 until April 2023, according to WFXT and court records. The documents included information about the ongoing war in Ukraine and other highly sensitive topics, officials said.

In court records, authorities said Teixeira enlisted in the U.S. Air National Guard in September 2019. In May 2022, he began serving as an E-3/airman first class at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts. He last worked as a cyber defense operations journeyman.

As part of his job, Teixeira had access to confidential records, officials said. He got top secret clearance in 2021.

Last year, authorities scrambled to identify the source of classified information that surfaced on social media, The New York Times reported. Authorities followed the online trail to Teixeira, who ran the online chat group Thug Shaker Central, where the documents first appeared, according to the newspaper.

Authorities said Teixeira began posting confidential information in paragraphs of text. By January 2023, he had swapped to posting photographs of classified documents, including some showing troop movements in the Russia-Ukraine war, court records show.

The leak represented the most consequential national security leak in years and embarrassed the Pentagon, which subsequently tightened safeguards on classified information, The Associated Press reported. Several people who failed to take required action on suspicious behavior exhibited by Teixeira were also disciplined, according to the news agency.

Air Force officials told the AP that Teixeira remained a member of the Air National Guard in an unpaid status as of Monday. He has been jailed since his arrest in April 2023, WFXT reported.