Air Force disciplines 15 in connection with investigation into Mass. leak suspect Jack Teixeira

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The United States Air Force has announced that disciplinary action has been taken against 15 service members who failed to take proper action after becoming aware of accused leaker Jack Teixeira’s intelligence-seeking activities, officials said.

The findings of an Air Force Inspector General investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of classified information by Teixeira, a member of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, were published Monday by the Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs.

Teixeira, 21, was indicted in June on six counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information related to National Defense Information. The North Dighton resident later pleaded not guilty to sharing classified military documents about Russia’s war in Ukraine and other sensitive national security topics on the social media platform Discord.

The IG investigation found that 15 individuals in Teixeira’s unit were aware of Teixeira’s alleged wrongdoing but never informed unit leaders. Those individuals, ranging in rank from E-5 to O-6, were disciplined beginning in September for “dereliction in the performance of duties.”

In the report on the IG findings, the Air Force wrote, “Indirect factors that enabled Teixeira’s unauthorized disclosure include the failure of commanders to adequately inspect areas under their command, inconsistent guidance for reporting security incidents, inconsistent definitions of the ‘Need to Know’ concept, conflation of classified system access with the ‘Need to Know’ principle, inefficient and ineffective processes for administering disciplinary actions, lack of supervision/oversight of night shift operations and a failure to provide security clearance field investigation results.”

Additionally, the IG investigation found that 102 IW leadership was not “vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who were placed under their command.”

“Every Airman and Guardian 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,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said in a statement. “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.”

Col. Sean Riley, 102 IW commander, has since been relieved of his duties.

The investigation concluded that Air Force-wide security improvements were needed, including:

  • Improving need-to-know enforcement for electronic and hard-copy classified information
  • Providing additional guidance on layered physical security protections for facilities and systems
  • Increasing clarity on the responsibility of individuals and commanders to report behaviors of concern; ensuring hand-off and receipt occur within personnel security systems when individuals transfer to other assignments
  • Increased emphasis on cyber hygiene; and improving security training content and delivery

Teixeira was arrested in April. He is currently awaiting trial.

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