The United States Air Force announced on Monday it has disciplined 15 members from a Massachusetts base following an inspector general’s investigation into 21-year-old Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira’s alleged leak of national security documents on the social media platform Discord that was exposed earlier this year.
The inspector general’s investigation was separate from the probe conducted by the Justice Department that resulted in Teixeira’s arrest in April and subsequent indictment in June on six counts for the unauthorized disclosure of national defense information. Teixeira pleaded not guilty in June, remains behind bars and is still awaiting a trial date.
The Department of the Air Force released its report on Monday on the results of an Air Force Inspector General (IG) investigation that found individuals in Teixeira’s unit, the 102nd Intelligence Wing, Otis Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, “failed to take proper action after becoming aware of his intelligence-seeking activities.”
However, the IG investigation did not find evidence that members of Teixeira’s supervisory chain were aware of his alleged unauthorized disclosures. Beginning on Sept. 7, Air National Guard leaders “initiated disciplinary and other administrative actions against 15 individuals, ranging in rank from E-5 to O-6, for dereliction in the performance of duties,” the Air Force said.
The actions taken ranged from relieving personnel from their positions, including command positions, to non-judicial punishment under Article 15 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Every Airman and Guardian is entrusted with the solemn duty to safeguard our nation’s classified defense information. When there is a breach of that sacred trust, for any reason, we will act in accordance with our laws and policies to hold responsible individuals accountable,” Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said in a statement. “Our national security demands leaders at every level protect critical assets, ensuring they do not fall into the hands of those who would do the United States or our allies and partners harm.”
Col. Sean Riley, 102 IW commander, received administrative action and was relieved of command for cause and Col. Enrique Dovalo, 102d Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group commander, received administrative action for concerns with unit culture and compliance with policies and standards. Previously suspended commanders from the 102d Intelligence Support Squadron and the detachment overseeing administrative support for Airmen at the unit mobilized for duty under Title 10 USC were permanently removed, the Air Force said.
The 102nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group was taken off mission when Teixeira was discovered as the source of the unauthorized disclosures. The group’s mission remains reassigned to other organizations within the Air Force.
According to the IG report, indirect factors that enabled Teixeira’s unauthorized disclosure include the failure of commanders to adequately inspect areas under their command, inconsistent guidance for reporting security incidents, inconsistent definitions of the “Need to Know” concept, conflation of classified system access with the “Need to Know” principle, inefficient and ineffective processes for administering disciplinary actions, lack of supervision/oversight of night shift operations and a failure to provide security clearance field investigation results.
The IG investigation also found 102 IW leadership was not vigilant in inspecting the conduct of all persons who were placed under their command, the Air Force said.
The IG investigation specifically found the 102 IW leadership “did not effectively prioritize the immediate mission security by not taking the required actions to accomplish security program responsibilities fully and effectively.” The Air Force outlined department-wide security improvements made as a result of the IG investigation, including implementing several reforms to improve procedures related to need to know and classified access, in addition to improving accountability for protection of classified and sensitive information.
According to DOJ charging documents, Teixeira, who enlisted in the Air National Guard in 2019 and held a top secret security clearance since 2021, began sharing military secrets about the Ukraine-Russia war and other sensitive national security topics around January on Discord, a social media platform popular with online gamers.
Prosecutors allege Teixeira began first by typing out classified documents and then sharing photographs of files that bore “SECRET” and “TOP SECRET” markings.
Teixeira reportedly served as a “cyber transport systems specialist,” essentially an IT specialist responsible for military communications networks. The DOJ has not disclosed a motive.