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Air Force Disciplines Personnel After Teixeira Investigation

U.S.Air Force Disciplines Personnel After Teixeira Investigation

WASHINGTON — The Air Force has disciplined 15 military personnel for dereliction of duties after an inquiry into Jack Teixeira, an Air National Guardsman who was accused this year of posting classified documents online.

An Air Force inspector general investigation concluded that people in Airman Teixeira’s unit, the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base on Joint Base Cape Cod, in eastern Massachusetts, failed to take proper action after becoming aware of the airman’s intelligence-seeking activities.

But the inquiry, which was made public on Monday, found no evidence that members of Airman Teixeira’s chain of command had been aware of his activities.

As a result of the investigation, 15 enlisted personnel and officers faced disciplinary action beginning in September, the Air Force said in a statement. Col. Sean D. Riley, the wing commander, was relieved of his command, it added.

The inspector general’s inquiry was separate from a criminal investigation into the actions of Airman Teixeira being led by the Justice Department. Airman Teixeira, 21, pleaded not guilty to six counts of federal criminal charges in June, two months after his arrest.

Frank Kendall, the secretary of the Air Force, directed the service’s inspector general to look into the wing, where Airman Teixeira had served as an information-technology specialist. The inquiry also examined how the airman had been able to post hundreds of national security documents in a chat room. From there, the documents had drifted to Twitter and to the messaging platform Telegram.

New questions about the command surfaced in May, when a Justice Department filing revealed that Air Force officials had caught Airman Teixeira taking notes and searching for classified material months before he was charged but did not remove him from his job.

On two occasions, in September and October 2022, the airman’s superiors at Otis Air National reprimanded him after reports that he had taken “concerning actions” while handling classified information. Those included stuffing a note into his pocket after reviewing secret information in his unit, according to the court filing.

That information raised questions about whether the military had missed opportunities to stop or limit one of the most damaging intelligence leaks in recent years.

The Air Force statement said indirect factors that had enabled Airman Teixeira’s unauthorized disclosure included “the failure of commanders to adequately inspect areas under their command, inconsistent guidance for reporting security incidents” as well as “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.”

In the statement, Mr. Kendall said that “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.”

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