Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who was arrested Thursday and stands accused of leaking top secret Pentagon documents about the war in Ukraine, among other things, was arraigned Friday in Boston.
The Justice Department has released the criminal complaint against Teixeira, who is 21. FBI special agent, Patrick Lueckenhoff, told a federal judge there was probable cause to believe Teixeira had violated two parts of Title 18 of the federal code: Section 793, which falls under the Espionage Act, and Section 1924.
The Espionage Act is a World War I-era law that criminalizes the mishandling of national-defense information that could be used to harm the United States or to aid a foreign adversary. It was enacted before the modern classification system for protecting government secrets, which distinguishes between secret and top secret documents, for example.
Under Section 793, Teixeira is accused of illegally retaining and transmitting information — a conviction carrying a prison sentence of up to 10 years per violation.
Several spies and others who have shared sensitive information with the public and press have been charged with the law since 1917. Section 794, which Teixeira is not accused of, requires prosecutors to prove the act was done to aid a foreign government, and carries a much harsher punishment of up to life in prison, or death.
More recently, the Espionage Act has been applied to others who have threatened national security by leaking sensitive information, including Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden.
Teixeira is also accused of violating Section 1924, which criminalizes the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material. It is punished by a fine or a prison sentence of up to five years. This scope of this section does not extend to the act of giving the documents to other people, like under the Espionage Act.
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