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Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen Delivers Remarks on Guilty Plea by Air National Guardsman in National Security Case


Boston, MA
United States

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery

This morning, Jack Teixeira, a member of the U.S. Air National Guard, pleaded guilty to six counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defense — admitting his guilt in open court to every count he was charged with last June.

This guilty plea brings accountability and a measure of closure to a chapter that created profound harms for our nation’s security. Today’s agreement paves the way for the government to seek a sentence commensurate with his crimes when he is sentenced later this year.

Mr. Teixeira enlisted in the Air National Guard in September 2019. And he was first entrusted with a Top Secret security clearance in July 2021. Mr. Teixeira was trained in the proper handling and storing of classified and sensitive information, including national defense information. He was instructed that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information could cause damage to U.S. national security, and he was warned that the designation of Top Secret information was reserved for information that “could reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to our national security.”

As he admitted today, Mr. Teixeira repeatedly and flagrantly discarded those warnings. By the start of 2022, he was unlawfully removing, from a secure location, classified information information that was clearly marked as SECRET, TOP SECRET, and SCI. SCI — or sensitive compartmented information — is used to denote some of our nation’s most closely guarded secrets.

Having illegally taken the information from secure storage facilities, Mr. Teixeira went further and began posting classified material publicly on a social media platform. He continued this practice until just before his arrest in April of 2023.

To those of us who have spent our careers seeing firsthand the sacrifice and dedication of our Intelligence Community and national security professionals and their efforts to keep the American people safe, it has been shocking to witness the public disclosures that resulted from Mr. Teixeria’s crimes.

By knowingly and improperly posting classified national defense information on a social media platform, Mr. Teixeira enabled hundreds of members of his online chat groups, including individuals it was clear to him were located abroad, to further disseminate national defense information across the internet.

In so doing, Mr. Teixeira callously disregarded the national security of the United States. And Mr. Teixeira betrayed his solemn oath to defend his country and the trust of the American people he swore to protect.

Being entrusted with a security clearance carries the responsibility to be a good steward of our nation’s most sensitive information. Whether someone violates this duty by handing classified national defense information directly to our foreign adversaries or by willfully posting it online for all to see, the national security consequences are severe.

This case highlights those consequences. As a result of Mr. Teixeira’s actions, our nation’s adversaries — all of them — were given access to sensitive national defense information.

Such unlawful disclosure damages our intelligence capabilities, compromises our sources and methods, and blinds the United States to threats from hostile nations and terrorist groups. It strains relations with allies and partners who have entrusted us with their secrets to advance our common interests of global stability and peace. Most starkly, it risks the lives of our men and women in uniform and those in the intelligence community who work every day to defend our nation.

A core mission of the National Security Division is to enforce the laws that protect classified and national defense information. We work in close partnership with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country, and other federal agencies, to hold accountable those who violate their obligations to safeguard our nation’s secrets.

With today’s plea, the Department of Justice holds Mr. Teixeira accountable for his actions and makes clear the gravity of the responsibility to protect classified information.

I’d like to thank acting U.S. Attorney Joshua Levy and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, as well as the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, for their steadfast efforts to prosecute this case and bring it to a strong resolution. Thank you also to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of Virginia for assisting in this investigation.

I also would like to recognize the dedicated agents of the FBI Washington, D.C. and Boston Field Offices, who have worked to deliver justice in this case.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the important partnership with the Department of Defense, in particular the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and the Air Force’s Office of General Counsel.

National Security
Updated March 4, 2024