US soldier accused of passing on secret documents pleads guilty

US soldier accused of passing on secret documents pleads guilty

A young American soldier arrested in 2023 for leaking classified documents, particularly related to the war in Ukraine, pleaded guilty before the American justice system on Monday, sealing a deal of 16 years in prison in exchange for the dismissal of the most serious espionage charges.

• Also read: US soldier charged with leaking secret documents, pleads not guilty

• Also read: Pentagon document leak suspect charged with six new charges

Jack Teixeira, 22, appeared in federal court in Boston wearing an orange prisoner's outfit. He admitted to disseminating information related to the national defense of the United States, but prosecutors will not charge him with espionage, which would have brought him a much harsher sentence, probably life in prison.

Under the legal agreement, the Air Force National Guard recruit will avoid criminal charges, but will be sentenced by a judge to 16 years and eight months in prison and a $50,000 fine and must help intelligence officials understand how the leak was possible .

Jack Teixeira had previously pleaded not guilty, notably after being indicted by a federal grand jury (jury of citizens involved in the investigation phase, editor's note) on six counts of “voluntarily preserving and disclosing information in connection with the National Defense” was charged. each punishable by a prison sentence of up to ten years.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested him on April 13 outside his family home in Dighton, south of Boston, a few days after these revelations broke in the American press.

Employed as a computer and communications specialist at a military base on Cape Cod, near this historic New England town, he posted confidential information in a discussion group on the Discord platform, which was then spread to other social networks.

The secret documents had expressed U.S. intelligence concerns about the feasibility of a Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russian forces. They also suggested that Washington was gathering information about its closest partners, particularly Israel and South Korea.

The affair embarrassed Washington and raised questions about possible security breaches, even though the young soldier, despite his modest rank, had a secret Defense Department clearance that gave him access to this sensitive information.

The Teixeira affair is, to a much lesser extent, reminiscent of the case of Edward Snowden, an American intelligence official who revealed in 2013 that the United States had a system of mass surveillance around the world.