Details about expressions of deadly violence emerged at Thursday’s detention hearing for Jack Teixeira, the member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard accused of leaking dozens of classified Pentagon documents online.
While the judge at Teixeira’s Thursday hearing put off an immediate decision on whether he’ll be kept in jail during the duration of his case, new court filings by the prosecution have raised new questions about why the 21-year-old may have had the highest-level security clearance to some of the United States’ most top secret documents.
The prosecution asserted in its filing that “the Defendant’s own obstructive and deceptive acts to date compound his risk of flight and dangerousness” and that he poses an “ongoing risk to both the national security of the United States and to the community.”
In listing those alleged risks, the prosecution noted that in November 2022, “the Defendant stated that if he had his way, he would ‘kill a [expletive] ton of people” because it would be ‘culling the weak minded.'”
That’s according to posts on social media scrutinized by federal prosecutors.
In February of this year, according to the prosecution, Teixeira said he was tempted to turn a minivan into an “assassination van.”
The next month he described shooting into a “crowded urban or suburban environment,” according to prosecutors.
Teixeira joined the Air National Guard in September 2019 and worked as a cybersecurity systems journeyman as part of the 102nd Intelligence Wing based on Cape Cod, a position in which he held the highest level of security clearance granted by the federal government for top secret information.
In an interview published in The Washington Post on April 12, an online friend who did not mention Teixeira by name said he’d shared classified documents with their social media chat group on Discord to keep the 20 or so group members “in the loop.”
Since Teixeira’s April 13 arrest the Pentagon has clamped down, limiting access to classified materials, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed a 45-day review of classified intelligence handling across the Defense Department.
Pentagon press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder has said the Defense Department was reviewing “the scope and impact” of the leaked documents which reveal U.S. spying not just on its adversaries but also on allies.
The National Security Council has said that at least some of the leaked documents appear to be doctored or contain false information.
At Thursday’s hearing, Magistrate Judge David Hennessy expressed skepticism toward defense arguments that Teixeira may not have intended for the leaked information to be widely disseminated.
“Somebody under the age of 30 has no idea that when they put something on the internet that it could end up anywhere in this world?” the judge retorted. “Seriously?”
According to prosecutors, Teixeira faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty of the charges against him under the Espionage Act.