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Pentagon leak suspect ordered to remain in jail ahead of trial


WORCESTER (Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday ordered the Air National Guardsman accused of leaking military secrets to remain in jail as he awaits trial on charges he violated the Espionage Act.

Magistrate Judge David Hennessy made the decision after lawyers for Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, asked for him to be released to house arrest pending trial.

Teixeira, arrested on April 13, is the primary suspect in the disclosure of U.S. documents related to the Ukraine war and numerous other topics – an embarrassing leak that has caused U.S. government soul-searching about its failure to protect vital national security secrets.

“Who did he put at risk?” said Hennessy of U.S. federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts. “You could make a list as long as a phone book.”

Teixeira appeared at the hearing in an orange jumpsuit and a new buzz haircut.

Teixeira leaked classified documents to a group of gamers on the messaging app Discord, according to prosecutors. The leak is considered the most serious U.S. national security breach since more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website in 2010.

Teixeira is charged 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.

The leaked classified documents held highly classified information on allies and adversaries, with details ranging from Ukraine’s air defenses to Israel’s Mossad spy agency. U.S. President Joe Biden has ordered an investigation into why the alleged leaker had access to the sensitive information.

Teixeira is being held in Plymouth County jail south of Boston.

(Reporting by Timothy McLaughlin; writing by Jasper Ward; editing by Caitlin Webber and Cynthia Osterman)

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