The Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents began posting sensitive information months earlier than originally known and to a much larger group, according to a chain of digital evidence linking the leaks to him, collected by the New York Times.
Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old from North Dighton, was arrested last week, accused of leaking classified documents to 50 members of the social media platform Discord last October.
But according to the Times report, the information technology specialist began leaking information months earlier, in February, to about 600 members.
“This leak of information has also our lives in jeopardy," retired Massachusetts State Trooper Todd McGhee said.
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McGhee is a security and intelligence expert.
“The initial motivation or temptation may have been, I released smaller less sensitive documents previously. What if I up the ante? No one called me into question on other transmissions. Maybe I can get away with something bigger. More provocative," McGhee explained.
The 21-year-old had top secret clearance and was posting information about Russian and Ukranian casualties, activities of Moscow's spy agencies, and updates being provided to Ukraine, according to posts made under a username that the Times connected to Teixeira. McGhee believes an evaluation process looking into our intelligence agencies' protocols will take place in response.
“I would think that the level of access to information will also be a part of that evaluation process and at the end of that evaluation process there will most likely be new policies and procedures, new access control as well as monitoring of information transmissions.”
The Air Force has already opened its own investigation. Teixeira has been charged, under the Espionage Act, with unauthorized retention and transmission of classified national defense information.
NBC News has reached out to the Pentagon and the FBI for more information on the case.