WORCESTER, Mass. (WPRI) — A Dighton man accused of leaking highly classified military documents online has been ordered to remain behind bars as he awaits trial.
Jack Teixeira, 21, is charged with unauthorized transmission of defense materials and unauthorized retention and removal of classified documents. He was in court Friday for a detention hearing after it was postponed last month.
A spokesperson for his parents, who were also in court, released a statement expressing their disappointment with the federal judge’s ruling.
“We realize there is a long road ahead of us all, and Jack’s wellbeing and safety is our priority right now,” they wrote. “As a family, we are as committed as ever and remain steadfast and determined in our complete support of Jack as we continue to wade through this process.”
Teixeira has been detained since was arrested outside his home on April 13.
The FBI alleges he used his position within the Massachusetts Air National Guard to access national defense information and post it on public websites starting late last year. Teixeira had top secret security clearance for his role as a cyber defense operations journeyman, according to the FBI.
In a court filing released earlier this week, prosecutors claimed Teixeira was caught taking notes on classified information or viewing intelligence not related to his job. He was warned twice in September and October, then again in February about mishandling classified materials.
Teixeira’s defense team requested that he be released to his father’s custody, citing previous Espionage Act cases. His lawyers argued the platform where he’s accused of posting the documents was a “small, private online community” and that he never intended for that information to be widely disseminated.
The judge, however, sided with the government, saying Teixeira should remain in jail because he blatantly disregarded his superiors’ instructions and showed no remorse for doing so in social media posts. The judge said that when Teixeira published that classified information, the list of people he put at risk “could be as long as the phone book.”
As a result, Teixeira was sent back to Plymouth County Correctional Facility.
Prosecutors previously said that releasing Teixeira would be a “grave threat to the U.S. national security” and his “troubling history raises serious concerns about what he would do if released into the community.”
Photos included in court documents showed investigators found an arsenal of weapons in his bedrooms at his mother’s and father’s homes. The court documents also revealed that in 2018, Teixeira made comments about weapons that got him suspended while he was a sophomore at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Additionally, investigators said he used his government computer last year to search for recent mass shootings.
Prosecutors claim that when news of the document leak began to surface, Teixeira took steps to destroy the evidence. He allegedly told others online to “delete all messages” and “if anyone comes looking don’t tell them [expletive].”