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Accused US 'Leaker' Stays Jailed

FILE: Jack Douglas Teixeira, a U.S. Air Force National Guard airman accused of leaking highly classified military intelligence records online, makes his initial appearance before a federal judge in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S. April 14, 2023 in a courtroom sketch.

WASHINGTON - A 21-year-old member of the U.S. Air National Guard, Jack Douglas Teixeira of North Dighton, Massachusetts, who is facing criminal charges for leaking top-secret military intelligence records online will remain in jail for now, according to court filings.

Teixeira appeared very briefly in court on Wednesday, wearing an orange jumpsuit, where the judge accepted his request to waive his right to a preliminary hearing.

"Yes, your honor," Teixeira, wearing an orange jumpsuit, told the judge when asked if it was his decision to forego the hearing.

About two hours before the hearing, however, Teixeira's team of federal public defenders filed a request asking the judge to delay the detention hearing for two weeks because they needed "more time to address the issues presented by the government's request for detention."

It remains to be seen whether Teixeira will opt to challenge the government's detention request or not.

He has not yet entered a plea.

Teixeira was arrested last Thursday at his home by heavily armed FBI agents without incident.

Teixeira, an IT specialist, is accused of orchestrating the most damaging leak of US classified documents in a decade.

The documents unveiled US concern over Ukraine's ability to fend off the Russian invasion, and showed Washington has spied on allies Israel and South Korea.

The leaked documents at the heart of the case are believed to be the most serious U.S. security breach since more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website in 2010. The Pentagon has called the leak a "deliberate, criminal act."

A criminal complaint made public on Friday charged Teixeira with one count of violating the Espionage Act related to the unlawful copying and transmitting of sensitive defense material, and a second charge related to the unlawful removal of defense material to an unauthorized location.

Legal experts expect he will likely face more charges down the road as additional evidence is presented over time to a grand jury.

A conviction on the Espionage Act charge carries up to 10 years in prison.

This report was sourced from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.