Prosecutors say classified docs leak suspect Jack Teixeira a flight risk ahead of hearing Thursday
Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira is a flight risk who took calculated steps to thwart the investigation into his alleged leak of classified information, federal prosecutors argued in a new court filing Wednesday, as they prepare to tell a federal judge Teixeira "must remain detained."
Teixeira, 21, is due in federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, Thursday for a detention hearing after being charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and willful retention of classified documents. Teixeira has yet to enter a plea.
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"In the first place, the Defendant poses a serious flight risk," prosecutors said in the Wednesday filing. "He currently faces 25 years in prison -- and potentially far more -- and other serious consequences for his conduct; the evidence against him is substantial and mounting; the charged conduct would very obviously end his Military career; and he accessed and may still have access to a trove of classified information that would be of tremendous value to hostile nation states that could offer him safe harbor and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States."
In the government's filing, prosecutors claimed Teixeira took "a series of obstructive steps" intended to prevent investigators from understanding the scope of what he allegedly did.
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"This includes instructions the Defendant gave to other online members of a social media platform (including to 'delete all messages' and '[i]f anyone comes looking, don't tell them s***'), as well as the fact that following his arrest, authorities searched a dumpster at his residence and found a tablet, a laptop and an Xbox gaming console, all of which had been smashed," the filing said.
Federal prosecutors expressed concern that it would be "all too easy" for Teixeira, if released on bail, "to further disseminate classified information," creating what they called an "unacceptable risk" he would flee the country and "take refuge with a foreign adversary," the document said.
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The government also outlined in detail the reasons they believe Teixeira poses a danger to the public if allowed to be released from detention, pointing to the "virtual arsenal of weapons" he possessed at residences he occupied that are owned by his mother and father.
It included "bolt-action rifles, rifles, AR- and AK-style weapons, and a bazooka," prosecutors said in the filing.
Further, the government flagged that as recently as July of last year, Teixeira allegedly used his government computer to search the terms "Ruby Ridge," "Las Vegas shooting," "Mandalay Bay shooting," "Buffalo tops shooting" and "Uvalde," according to the filing.
Though investigators acknowledged that they could be tied to Teixeira's belief in conspiracy theories that the government knew of these mass shootings in advance, "the combination of these search terms, the Defendant's violent statements on social media, and the Defendant's arsenal of weapons is troubling," they wrote in the filing Wednesday.
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The filing comes as two leaders of the unit where the alleged leaker worked have been temporarily suspended by the Air Force while its investigation continues.
The two senior leaders are the commander of the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron and the detachment commander overseeing administrative support for the squadron. With the suspension, they've also temporarily lost access to classified systems and information.
Earlier this month, the federal magistrate judge overseeing Teixeira's case granted his request to delay the detention hearing that would have determined if the suspect should remain in federal custody. Teixeira sought to postpone the hearing so his attorneys could have more time to address arguments for keeping him in federal custody, according to a court filing.
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