Air National Guard Unit Where Alleged Leaker Worked Sidelined from Intelligence Work

Entrance sign to Joint Base Cape Cod.
Entrance sign to Joint Base Cape Cod. (Photo by Ktr101 via Wikimedia Commons)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado -- Airmen who served alongside the 21-year-old Air National Guardsman who was arrested and charged with leaking classified documents online are stuck with busy work unrelated to their mission as the service investigates the circumstances of his alleged crimes.

The 102nd Intelligence Wing, which is based out of Joint Base Cape Cod in Massachusetts, is having its mission "paused and divided among other units," Frank Hartnett, a spokesman for Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall, told during the Space Symposium conference in Colorado Springs on Wednesday.

Airmen who served in the unit with Jack Teixeira -- who was arrested last week following months of leaks online that allegedly disclosed classified information obtained from the base -- will "continue to train and complete other administrative tasks and duties that are not specifically related to their primary mission," an Air Force official told Wednesday in an emailed statement.

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Additionally, other units in the wing that are not related to intelligence work will continue their daily operations as normal, the Air Force official continued. The official did not disclose how long the service's investigation into the matter would take or whether members of Teixeira's unit were being interviewed as part of that probe.

The dozens of documents -- the Pentagon has still not determined how many leaked online -- appear to have originated from the 102nd Intelligence Wing, where Teixeira was stationed.

The wing's mission is to "provide worldwide precision intelligence" mainly "for expeditionary combat support and homeland security." It is more than 100 years old and started as the 101st Observation Squadron of the Massachusetts National Guard in 1921, according to its website.

Kendall did not take in-person questions relating to Teixieira's leak during a media briefing at the event Wednesday but did speak to the need to review "need-to-know" policies -- a principle that only allows personnel access to classified information when it is critical to their job function -- within the department.

"The unauthorized disclosure that's occurred is very significant and serious to us, and we want to make sure those sorts of things don't happen," Kendall told reporters. "There's always a balance between the openness we can have, certainly with the American public and everybody else, but also what we need to protect from the point of view of giving our potential adversaries information that could benefit them."

On Tuesday, Kendall issued a memo directing the service's inspector general to probe compliance with classified document safeguards at the 102nd Intelligence Wing. It also calls for every unit to conduct a stand-down to review policies.

The Department of the Air Force's review is separate from one announced by the Pentagon following Teixeira's arrest. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ordered a 45-day review of how access to classified information is handled across the department,and urged the services to follow detailed requirements for safeguarding the information, such as locked containers and end-of-day security checks.

Teixeira made a brief appearance in a Boston courtroom on Wednesday for what was supposed to be a detention hearing, but the Guardsman's defense team asked to delay proceedings, saying that their team "requires more time to address the issues presented by the government's request for detention," according to The Associated Press.

He was charged last week with unauthorized retention and transmission of classified national defense information. He allegedly shared the secret documents, which he got from his job at the base, with a group of friends on the popular video-gaming social messaging platform Discord.

Teixeira could face additional charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, because he had been on federal Title 10 orders since October, meaning he had been on active-duty status performing military duties as opposed to more sporadic drill weekends in Massachusetts.

Guardsmen, who spend the bulk of their service under different duty statuses working part time, often fall out of military justice jurisdiction.

-- Thomas Novelly can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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