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US military leak suspect got offer to bolster intelligence skills

By Tim McLaughlin

WORCESTER, Massachusetts (Reuters) – Superiors of the U.S. Air National Guardsman accused of leaking military secrets offered him intelligence-related training even after they admonished him twice for his handling of classified information, according to a memo disclosed this week by U.S. Justice Department attorneys.

Before his arrest in April on espionage charges, Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, was offered a cross-training opportunity as an entry-level “fusion analyst,” an Air Force specialty that determines the value and implications of gathered intelligence.

The offer, which Teixeira declined, came after his superiors suspected him of ignoring a cease-and-desist order given a month earlier “on deep diving into intelligence information,” according to an Oct. 27 Air Force memo filed in his court case.

Teixeira will appear on Friday in federal court, where a judge is expected to rule on whether he can be released from detention while he awaits trial on charges he violated the Espionage Act. The FBI arrested Teixeira on April 13 at his home in Massachusetts.

As a low-level airman, Teixeira had broad access to military secrets at the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing.

In September, one of his superiors saw him taking notes on classified information and shoving a piece of paper into his pocket. He received a warning, and was admonished again a month later after asking detailed questions at a briefing, according to the Justice Department.

Attorneys with the Justice Department argue that Teixeira cannot be trusted to live at home with his father. At a detention hearing last month, Assistant U.S. Attorney Nadine Pellegrini told the judge it would be hard to imagine that Teixeira would not seek to make himself available to others who want the secret information he is accused of stealing.

Even after his warnings last year, Teixeira bragged online in early January that he had broad access to top secret information.

“I have stuff for Israel, Palestine, Syria, Iran and China,” Teixeira said on social media, according to prosecutors. A month earlier, he told the social media group: “All of the shit I’ve told you guys I’m not supposed to.”

(Reporting By Tim McLaughlin; Editing by Bill Berkrot)


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