The Justice Department argued Wednesday night that accused Pentagon leaker Jake Teixeira must be detained before he can be tried on charges related to his alleged illegal detention and transmission of classified documents to national defense.
In a detention memo filed in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts, prosecutors presented several reasons why the 21-year-old Air National Guard member should not be released into his father’s custody before his trial. Teixeira’s detention hearing will be held on Thursday.
Investigators say they found evidence that Teixeira tried to thwart the leak investigation of his allegations; Prosecutors’ memo includes samples of more than 40,000 messages they say Teixeira sent on Discord — many about alleged leaked documents.
In March, he provided information to users of his group on instant messaging and social platform Discord, according to a chat obtained by investigators.
Investigators also captured conversations that showed Teixeira instructing others in the Discord group to “delete all messages.”
“(i)f someone comes looking, don’t tell them sh**,” he complained to one user. And he said to another, “Try to delete all my messages on Civil Discussion.” He came up with a plan to have a Discord user invite him to a chat and then ban Teixeira and use the “delete all my messages” option. “It goes away in just 7 days,” the user told him. Teixeira responded with a profanity.
Investigators say when they arrived at his mother’s home earlier this month, they found a tablet, laptop and Xbox smashed among her trash. Also in the home, the FBI found a gun locker where multiple weapons, including handguns, rifles, shotguns and high-powered weapons, were stored “two feet” from his bed, the filing said.
Teixeira was expelled from high school in 2018 after classmates overheard him talking about weapons and Molotov cocktails. He claimed they were references to a video game but the same year he applied for a firearms identification, he was rejected because of those comments. He applied again in 2019 and was again denied permission. In 2020, he argued that the position of trust he held with the US government qualified him to own a gun.
Teixeira also allegedly posted violent remarks online. The detention memo notes that last November, he wrote that if he had his way, he would “kill a ton of people” because that would be “killing weak-minded people.”
Earlier this year, in February, he told a user that he was tempted to make a minivan of sorts into a “killing van.”
In July 2022, using his government computer, investigators said he searched numerous terms associated with the mass shooting, including “Uvalde.”
The Justice Department noted in the memo that Teixeira faces up to 25 years in prison and “potentially much more,” indicating that he could face more charges. The long potential maximum sentence could make him a significant flight risk, prosecutors argued, and the value of the information he obtained — as well as his low current net worth of about $19,000 — could make him vulnerable to offers from countries unfriendly to the United States.
“He had access to, and may still have access to, a trove of classified information that would be of great value to hostile states that could offer him safe haven and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States,” the memo said.
The Justice Department warned that if released, Teixeira could pose an even greater threat now that his identity is known. “This same adversary has every incentive to contact the defendant, seek additional information to which he may have physical access or knowledge, and in exchange for that information provide the means to assist him in fleeing the country.”
According to the government memo, beginning in February 2022, Teixeira “accessed hundreds of classified documents containing national defense information that had no bearing on his role primarily as an information technology (“IT”) support specialist.”
In the Discord group, investigators say, he admitted on multiple occasions that he posted classified material and even asked other members what they wanted him to post.
In March, he reportedly told the group that he would no longer share classified materials, and in April, he reappeared under a different username, encouraging others to delete the messages.
The filing includes numerous contracts Teixeira signed regarding his service in the Air National Guard, FBI affidavits and photos of his room.