The Air National Guardsman charged with the most serious leak of secret military information in a decade says he should be released on bail, arguing he’s no Edward Snowden.
U.S. prosecutors are seeking to keep Jack Teixeira, 21, jailed while he awaits trial and have compared him to Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who eluded U.S. prosecution on espionage charges a decade ago for leaking information about secret surveillance programs by moving to Russia.
But defense lawyers say that in contrast to Snowden, who fled the U.S. prior to his arrest, Teixeira “remained at his mother’s home and peacefully submitted to arrest upon the arrival of law enforcement.”
A magistrate judge in Worcester, Massachusetts, is expected to rule Friday on whether Teixeira must remain in custody while his case proceeds.
Teixeira was arrested and charged last month with illegally accessing and disseminating classified national defense information to a group of online gaming associates. The materials he’s accused of taking include sensitive battlefield information about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and revelations that the U.S. eavesdropped on allies such as South Korea.
Defense lawyer Brendan Kelley said Teixeira would adhere to stringent bail conditions which pretrial court officials have approved. Teixeira’s team also has proposed that he would stay with his father if released.
But federal prosecutors said Wednesday he should be held without bail, saying that the evidence against Teixeira has grown stronger since a hearing last month that he poses a threat to national security if released.
“The defendant cannot now be trusted to refrain from causing further harm,” prosecutor Nadine Pellegrini wrote.
For example, while Teixeria claims he only released documents to a “small private online community,” prosecutors said he “willfully transmitted classified information to more than 150 users worldwide,” adding that many more online users may still have access to that information.
He also “exalted” in the breadth and sensitivity of material he leaked, the government said.
Prosecutors pointed to a Jan. 4 post in which Teixeira wrote “i have stuff for israel, palestine, syria, iran, china, SE asia, sometimes western europe” and said he the put information online after being admonished by superiors twice, in September 2022 and October 2022.
The case is U.S. v Teixeira, 23-MJ-4293, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts (Worcester).
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