April 13, 2023

Rep. Auchincloss calls classified documents leak 'a systemic failure'

CRANSTON. R.I. (WJAR) — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are demanding answers following the arrest of Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Douglas Teixeira.

Teixeira was arrested for allegedly leaking classified U.S. government and military documents online. The FBI took the 21-year-old into custody Thursday afternoon at his home in North Dighton, Massachusetts.

Shortly after his arrest, reactions poured in about Teixeira's alleged involvement and how a young, low-ranking service member was able to access and share classified materials online.

“Any individuals who shared classified documents betrayed their country and should be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” wrote Rep. Jake Auchincloss, a Democrat representing the district where Teixeira lives, in a tweet.

"We have a systemic failure here," said Auchincloss in an interview with NBC 10 News. "This is not an appropriate state of affairs."

Auchincloss said the Pentagon needs to explain how the leak was possible.

"If they did think he did have need to know, then I want to have the briefing from the Pentagon explaining why," he said.

NBC 10 News brought the congressman's concerns to former FBI Special Agent Kenneth Gray.

Gray said Teixeira shouldn't have had the level of access granting him clearance to view classified documents.

"However, he would be present inside locations that classified material may be laying around or maybe shared," said Gray, who is a senior lecturer in homeland security at the University of New Haven.

Teixeira's service record indicates he enlisted in the Air National Guard three years ago, and his rank is Airman 1st Class, E-3. His job title was cyber transport systems journeyman and he was assigned to the Otis Air National Guard Base.

"He had to go out of his way to have access to that material," said Gray. "To take the photographs of it, to make copies of it which, he should not have had."

Gray said Teixeira faces charges under the Espionage Act and up to 600 years in prison.

Teixeira is expected to make his first court appearance Friday in Boston.

By:  Leanna Faulk
Source: WJAR - NBC Providence