15 airmen disciplined by Air Force following investigation of accused leaker Jack Teixeira

US Air Force transport plane

According to an Air Force investigation released Monday, fifteen airmen have been disciplined (including with removal of their command) for failing to take proper action when they became aware of accused leaker Jack Teixeira’s activities. The internal review is separate from the Justice Department’s criminal investigation, which led to Teixeira’s indictment earlier this year on six charges of willful retention and transmission of national defense information. Teixeira pleaded not guilty and is awaiting a trial date.

The watchdog report found no evidence that Teixeira’s immediate superiors were aware at the time of his intelligence-seeking activities; however, the report details a pattern of oversight by Air Force officials at Teixiera’s base that indirectly contributed to his ability to gather and then leak classified documents without being caught. The report states that other airmen knew he was improperly accessing the sensitive materials.  According to the Air Force, the 15 service members range in rank from staff sergeant to colonel, and have since been removed from their positions, receiving non-judicial administrative punishments.

Teixeira, an airman 1st class, is accused of spreading highly classified materials through the popular online platform Discord to a small group. Following his arrest in April, the Air Force inspector general was tasked with reviewing the environment around Teixeira and the compliance with policy, procedures and standards by the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts where Teixeira was serving as an IT specialist.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said in a statement: “Every Airman … is entrusted with the solemn duty to safeguard our nation’s classified defense information. When there is a breach of that sacred trust, for any reason, we will act in accordance with our laws and policies to hold responsible individuals accountable. Our national security demands leaders at every level protect critical assets, ensuring they do not fall into the hands of those who would do the United States or our allies and partners harm.”

Editorial credit: Mircea Moira / Shutterstock.com

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