Pentagon leak suspect Teixeira pleads not guilty to US federal charges

(Reuters) -An Air National Guardsman accused of leaking U.S. military secrets pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to six federal counts of willful retention and transmission of classified information relating to national defense, a court filing showed.

Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, appeared in a federal court in Worcester, Massachusetts, for an arraignment after his arrest in April over the disclosure of U.S. documents related to the Ukraine war and numerous other sensitive issues.

Teixeira has been held in federal prison in Plymouth County, south of Boston, while waiting trial. No trial date has been set.

In a statement released after the arraignment, Teixeira’s family said they “are hopeful Jack will be getting the fair and just treatment he deserves.”

Prosecutors say Teixeira leaked classified documents to a group of gamers on the messaging app Discord. 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.

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

Each charge of unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information provides for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, and a fine of up to $250,000, the Justice Department had said.

Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Kanishka Singh; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell

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