'Shooting spree' planned by alleged Ukraine document leaker, say US officials
An American citizen facing charges for leaking classified documents about the ongoing invasion of Ukraine seems to have toyed with the idea of engaging in a mass shooting, court documents reveal.
According to messages he sent in the chat group, presented by prosecutors in Boston to extend his pretrial detention, 21-year-old Jack Teixeira said if he had it his way, he would “kill a [expletive] ton of people” because it would be “culling the weak-minded”.
In February, Teixeira messaged the group saying he was tempted to turn a specific type of minivan into an “assassination van” and described wanting to conduct a shooting in a “crowded urban or suburban environment.”
Earlier this month it was revealed that Teixeira had been sharing top secret and classified documents with a closed chat group on the Discord server.
He had access to the documents as an IT technician managing online security for the Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
After first sharing the contents in typed-up messages to the group, Teixeira took photographs of the document printouts and shared them as well.
These photographs were then shared in bigger Discord groups, eventually ending up on Russian Telegram channels before being reported on widely.
Biggest leak in Ukraine war
The leak has raised questions about the number of people within the US military and its agencies who have access to top secret and sensitive information.
Security experts believe the leak could make NATO allies as well as the Ukrainian government more wary of sharing information on weapons deliveries and military tactics.
US officials have so far ruled out the possibility that Teixeira was acting on behalf of malign actors such as Russia or China.
According to chats leaked from internet forums he was part of, Teixeira was spurred by wanting to impress the group of people he was chatting with.
He was arrested at his mother’s home in Dighton, Massachusetts on 13 April and faces charges under the Espionage Act for retaining and transmitting national defence information without authorisation, besides the unauthorized removal and retention of classified information.