Military Times: Lawmakers urge harsh punishment for national security leaks

MILITARY TIMES, LEO SHANE III

Key lawmakers are pushing for harsh punishment for the guardsman who released a series of classified documents online, despite some conservatives’ calls for leniency for the young service member.

On Friday, Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was formally charged with unauthorized handling of classified material. Federal officials believe the 21-year-old was the source behind a series of classified documents leaked online in recent months, some including information on upcoming military operations in Ukraine.

In a statement on Thursday, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., blasted the guardsman’s actions as “a major security breach that cannot be allowed to happen again.” He called for significant punishment for the crime.

“Leaking this trove of classified information endangered our military and intelligence professionals and undermined the security of our allies and partners,” he said. “Anyone with a security clearance who betrays their country by purposefully mishandling classified documents or disclosing classified materials must be held accountable.”

Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Calif. and a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said if the charges against Teixeira are proven true, “he should be tried for treason immediately.” Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va. — another committee member and a former Central Intelligence Agency officer — called Teixeira’s actions “outrageous” during an appearance on MSNBC Friday.

But Teixeira’s alleged offenses were downplayed by critics of U.S. involvement in the war in Ukraine. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ala., on social media on Friday wrote that “many are calling Jake Teixeira a hero” for exposing secrets about the ongoing conflict.

She also stated that Teixeira “is white, male, christian, and antiwar — that makes him an enemy to the Biden regime. And he told the truth about troops being on the ground in Ukraine and a lot more.”

Fox News host Tucker Carlson made similar comments on his Thursday evening show, accusing senior Pentagon officials of lying about U.S. participation levels in the war and saying Teixeira is being punished because “telling the truth is the only real sin.”

Investigators have not revealed any possible motives for Teixeira posting classified documents online. The information was originally released on a private online group hosted by the platform Discord, mostly focused on video game discussions, and reportedly shared onward by other group members.

On Thursday, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder called the release of classified information “a deliberate criminal act” that warrants a significant response.

Lawmakers are expected to receive a classified briefing on Capitol Hill on April 19 regarding the ongoing criminal investigation into Teixeira and the potential damage caused by the public release of the documents.

Leaders of the congressional armed services and intelligence committees have already received some unclassified background briefings in recent days. Both House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner, R-Ohio, and ranking member Jim Himes, D-Conn., said they hope to have a public hearing on the issue in coming weeks.

Recent Posts


Feb 28, 2024
Infrastructure

Spanberger Leads Virginia Lawmakers in Working to Protect $30 Internet Discount for Virginia Families, Fund Affordable Connectivity Program

The “Affordable Connectivity Program” Right Now Helps More than 455,000 Virginia Households Afford High-Speed Internet WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today led members of the Virginia congressional delegation in a bipartisan effort urging the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations to extend funding for a key discount program that allows more Virginia families to […]



Feb 26, 2024
Womens' Issues

In Wake of Alabama Supreme Court Ruling, Spanberger Joins Bicameral Effort to Protect Access to IVF

Congresswoman: “This Ruling Sets a Dangerous Precedent” WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today backed legislation to protect every American’s right to access in-vitro fertilization (IVF) following the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling that frozen embryos are children under the law. On February 16, 2024, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that frozen embryos — or […]



Spanberger, Valadao Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Strengthen U.S. Voting Systems Against Foreign Attacks

U.S. Senate Version is Led by U.S. Senators Mark Warner & Susan Collins WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) and David Valadao (R-CA-22) today introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen the security of U.S. election infrastructure by requiring that voting systems undergo simulated attacks as part of their standard certification process. Given ongoing attempts […]