Air Force asks for new charges against airman who leaked classified intel on Discord

US Air Force prosecutors have asked for new charges against the Massachusetts Air National guardsman who pleaded guilty in federal court earlier this year to leaking highly classified intelligence reports and other documents on social media, according to the Air Force.

During a hearing at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts on Tuesday, Air Force prosecutors asked a hearing officer to recommend charges of disobeying an order and obstructing justice against Jack Teixeira under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Teixeira, 22, was arrested in April 2023 and pleaded guilty in March to all six counts he faced under the Espionage Act. Prosecutors have said they will ask a judge to impose a prison sentence of over 16 years. The final sentence will ultimately be decided by a federal judge in September.

CNN reported earlier this month that the Air Force would pursue separate charges under the UCMJ. Because Teixiera was on active duty orders at the time that he admitted to leaking classified documents, the Air Force argued that he was subject to both criminal prosecution by the Department of Justice and under the UCMJ.

Prosecutors alleged that while working at a Cape Cod airbase, Teixeira posted messages that included classified information in a Discord chat room called “Thug Shaker Central” before eventually posting photos of documents marked as classified.

The documents, some of which were reviewed by CNN, included a wide range of highly classified information, such as blunt assessments on the state of the Russia-Ukraine war. Teixeira also allegedly posted information about an unnamed US company’s accounts that were compromised by a “foreign adversary,” as well as a document discussing a “plot by a foreign adversary to target United States forces abroad.”

At the hearing Tuesday, known as an Article 32 hearing, prosecutors presented evidence to a preliminary hearing officer, who will also consider arguments presented by Teixeira and his defense team. Teixeira was represented by three military defense counsel, including one of the chief district defense counsels for the Air Force, a spokesperson for the Air Force said.

The hearing officer will then make a recommendation on whether to move forward with the recommended charges or change them in some way. The recommendation is made to Maj. Gen. Daniel DeVoe, who is the General Courts-Martial Convening Authority.

DeVoe is not bound by the recommendation and there is no timeline for him to make a decision.

CNN’s Kaanita Iyer contributed to this report.

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