WASHINGTON - Jack Teixeira (Massachusetts Air National Guardsman) accused of posting classified information online repeatedly tried to obstruct investigators from the federal government and had a history of racist and violent remarks. Justice Department lawyers stated this in a late Wednesday court filing.
In an 18-page memorandum, released ahead of a hearing on detention scheduled for Thursday at a Massachusetts federal district court, the lawyers of the Department argued that Teixeira should be held indefinitely as he was a "serious flight threat" and could still possess information that is 'of tremendous value' to hostile nations.
They wrote that Airman Teixeira had tapped into vast reserves of sensitive information. This amount 'far exceeded what has been disclosed publicly' to date.
The prosecution questioned the overall mental state of Airman Teixeira, revealing that he had been suspended from his high school for making alarming remarks about Molotov cocktail use and other weapons in 2018. He also searched the internet to find information on mass shootings. The filing stated that Airman Teixeira engaged in "regular discussions" about violence and murder on Discord, the same social media platform he used for posting classified information. He also surrounded his parents' bed with guns and tactical gear.
Prosecutors said that Airman Teixeira also made a lot of 'racial threat'.
This behavior, which was so alarming that it was reported by the local police when he requested a firearms identification card, is sure to raise questions about how Airman Teixeira received a top secret security clearance allowing him to access some of the most sensitive intelligence reports in the country.
Prosecutors argued for Teixeira's confinement by describing a panicky and feckless attempt to cover up his crimes as law enforcement was closing in. This included telling a member to a chat group to "delete all the messages" and instructing an investigator to stonewall.
Prosecutors said he also attempted to destroy evidence. The filing contains photos of the electronic equipment, such as a tablet or an Xbox console that he had hurriedly destroyed, and then thrown in a trash can near his North Dighton home, Mass. before his arrest last month. The government was told by a witness that he had thrown his phone from the window of his truck while driving.
The department stated that these efforts were designed to prevent or delay the government's ability to fully understand the severity and scope of his conduct. The Department of Justice wrote that the defendant's promise to stay at home or refrain from aggravating the damage he's already done is no more valuable than his broken promises about protecting classified national defense information.
The lawyer appointed by the court to represent Airman Teixeira did not respond immediately to an email seeking comment.
Airman Teixeira, who was arrested on the 13th of April, has been charged with two counts relating to the unauthorised handling classified materials. The government has not yet indicted him in front of a grand jury. However, prosecutors stated in their filing Wednesday that he may face up to 25 years in prison -- and potentially even more -- if convicted.
In a preliminary charge, which was unsealed following his arrest, Airman Teixeira is accused of using his clearance as a top secret with an intelligence unit in Cape Cod to send documents containing restrictive classification marks to a chat group consisting of 50 members on Discord.
Prosecutors said that just before signing off, in March, Teixeira had told members of the small group that he was'very happy' to share information with them. He also solicited their requests for any information they wished him to post.
The material was distributed widely, including some that were obtained by keyword searching government files. The documents revealed how Western intelligence agencies can gain access to Kremlin internal deliberations. They also raised concerns about the U.S. led alliance's efforts to contain Russian aggression while avoiding a wider war.
The New York Times revealed last week that Airman Teixeira who was a computer network specialist had shared sensitive information much earlier than it was previously known, and with a larger group. According to The Times' review of online posts, Teixeira began sharing sensitive information in February 2022 within 48 hours after the Russian invasion of Ukraine with a chat group consisting of approximately 600 members.
On Wednesday, prosecutors wrote that they had confirmed this report. They stated that he "began accessing hundreds of classified documents" unrelated to his position in February 2022.
The document provided little insight as to what motivated Airman Teixeira's leak of internal U.S. Intelligence assessments. However, it cast his actions in a darker light. Previously, his actions were primarily driven by his desire for younger friends to see him online.
Investigators discovered a small weaponry in the bedroom of his house, which he shared with both his mother and his stepfather. Special agents found ammo, tactical pouches, and what appeared like a silencer style accessory in his desk.
The prosecutors also released a series social media posts dating from 2022 or 2023, in which Airman Teixeira expressed a desire to kill "a lot of people" and eliminate the 'weak-minded'. He described an 'assassination vehicle' that would drive around and kill people in a "crowded urban or suburb environment."
Investigators have been trying to find out how Airman Teixeira got the documents he's accused of posting on the internet. Investigators believe that he accessed the documents using administrator privileges associated with his position as an IT specialist. In his posts Airman Teixeira claimed that his job allowed him to access material others couldn't see. He wrote: 'The job that I have gives me privileges over most intel guys'
In Boston, Airman Teixeira was scheduled to appear in court for a hearing on detention earlier in the month. Brendan Kelley's lawyer asked for more time in order to respond to the arguments of the government, and David, the magistrate judge agreed. H. Hennessey quickly agreed.
The next step will be to file a grand jury's indictment. This would contain a detailed account of the allegations made against Airman Teixeira and a more specific description of the charges that he may face.
The Judge Hennessey courtroom is located in Worcester, 50 miles west from Boston. The case may be assigned to a Boston federal judge, if it's not completely moved out of Massachusetts, which is still a possibility.
Officials in the Justice Department considered moving the case to the Eastern District Virginia because it includes the Pentagon and its lawyers have experience investigating such cases.
People familiar with the matter said that it was not certain whether the federal judges of Massachusetts, where Airman Teixeira worked and lived, would be willing to take on the case. The U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Rachael Rollins is a Biden appointment and believes her office can handle the matter.
When asked about the case, Matthew G. Olsen, assistant attorney general for Washington State was noncommittal.
Mr. Olsen declined to elaborate, saying that the case is being prosecuted at this time and will be heard in Boston's District of Massachusetts.