The Air Force said on Monday it has disciplined 15 people in connection with the intelligence-seeking activity of classified information leaker Jack Teixeira. File Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Dec. 11 (UPI) -- The Air Force Inspector General said Monday it disciplined 15 branch members for not taking proper action when they learned of the intelligence-seeking activity of classified information leaker Jack Teixeira.
The inspector general's report focused on lax oversight at the air base where Teixeira worked but investigators added that they believed Teixeira's immediate supervisors were not aware at the time that he was sharing highly classified documents online.
The 15 disciplined service members -- from staff sergeant to colonel -- were removed from their positions and have received non-judicial ministrative punishments, according to the Air Force, the branch said.
Authorities accuse Teixeira, 21, of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, of leaking classified military documents on social media sites in June. He entered not guilty pleas to six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.
He has been in custody since his April arrest and could face up to 60 years in prison and $1.5 million in fines if convicted on all counts of violating the U.S. Espionage Act.
"Every airman and guardian is entrusted with the solemn duty to safeguard our nation's classified defense information," Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall said in a statement. "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.
"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."
The investigation found individuals in Teixeira's unit failed to take proper action after becoming aware of his intelligence-seeking activities, the Air Force said.
"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 Air Force said.