The U.S. Air Force said Wednesday that it has temporarily suspended two officers who were in command over Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman who is accused of leaking classified military intelligence on the internet.
Teixeira was arrested by FBI agents in North Dighton, Massachusetts, two weeks ago and was charged with unlawful retention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents. If convicted of both charges, Teixeira faces up to 15 years in prison.
“The commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, has suspended the commander of the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron pending further investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified information,” said Ann Stefanek, a spokesperson for the Air Force.
“Additionally, the detachment commander overseeing administrative support for Airmen at the unit mobilized for duty under Title 10 USC has also been suspended,” she continued. “This means that both the squadron’s state Air National Guard operational commander and current federal orders administrative commander have been suspended pending completion of the Department of the Air Force Inspector General Investigation.”
Stefanek added that the Air Force has temporarily removed both officers’ ability to access classified systems and information.
Teixeira is accused of posting hundreds of photographs of classified U.S. military intelligence on a private discord server over a period of months.
The leak has led to U.S. officials implementing new restrictions on who gets access to highly classified material, although some have warned that the effort may go too far.
“I would like to see a reaction to where we start protecting what’s important with the right kind of systems, the right kind of protection, the right kind of discipline, but my fear is the overreaction will be the opposite, to classify more and think somehow that if we classify it somehow we protect it,” John Hyten, a retired four-star Air Force general who served as vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Wall Street Journal. “The key is to identify the critical information, identify who has the need to know, and don’t let anybody else in.”