Alleged Pentagon leaker hit with 2 federal charges
Teixeira was arrested by heavily armed tactical agents on Thursday following a weeklong criminal investigation into the disclosure of the government records, a breach that exposed to the world unvarnished secret assessments on the war in Ukraine, the capabilities and geopolitical interests of other nations and other national security issues.
He appeared in court Friday in tan jail clothes for a brief proceeding at which U.S. Magistrate Judge David Hennessy ordered him held pending a hearing next Wednesday.
Investigators believe Teixeira was the leader of a small group on the social media platform Discord where he wrote about classified information that was paraphrased from documents.
He posted photographs of printouts of sensitive documents that were folded and then smoothed out. These documents were marked “Top Secret,” about the war in Ukraine and other geopolitical topics such as China, Iran and the Russian paramilitary group, Wagner.
The Biden administration began looking into the leak last week. The Justice Department is leading the investigation.
President Joe Biden on Friday commended “the rapid action taken by law enforcement to investigate and respond to the recent dissemination of classified U.S. government documents.”
“While we are still determining the validity of those documents, I have directed our military and intelligence community to take steps to further secure and limit distribution of sensitive information, and our national security team is closely coordinating with our partners and allies,” Biden said in a statement.
At an unrelated press conference Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the leak of the classified documents is “not just about taking home documents” but rather about “both the unlawful retention and the transmission of the documents.”
“People who sign agreements to be able to receive classified documents acknowledge the importance to the national security of not disclosing those documents,” Garland said, “and we intend to send that message, how important it is to our national security.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.