The Air Force has suspended leaders of the Massachusetts Air National Guard unit involved in the leak of a trove of classified documents, the service said April 26.
The move came on the order of the 102nd Intelligence Wing commander at Otis Air National Guard Base, Mass., the Air Force said. The two leaders, the commander of the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron and an administrative commander, have also lost access to classified information and systems. One of the unit’s members, Airman 1st Class Jack Teixeira, 21, has been charged with leaking scores of classified documents via online chat rooms on Discord.
“Commanders are taking appropriate action as information becomes available,” Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Air & Space Forces Magazine. The 102nd Intelligence Wing’s website identifies its commander as Col. Sean D. Riley. The wing has had its intelligence duties temporarily reassigned to other units as the Air Force investigates the leaks. Stefanek did not identify the squadron commander or administrative commander by name.
“This means that both the squadron’s state Air National Guard operational commander and current federal orders administrative commander have been suspended pending completion of the Department of the Air Force Inspector General Investigation,” Stefanek said. She also noted the “suspensions are temporary pending further investigation.”
According to its website, the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron is comprised of more than 100 service members, civilians, and contractors.
“The 102nd ISS provides intelligence systems maintenance, integration, and operations for the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system, as part of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF-DCGS) Enterprise, enabling near real-time Collection, Processing, Exploitation, and Dissemination (CPED) of fused intelligence to warfighters, combatant commanders, and the larger intelligence community,” the squadron’s website states.
The Pentagon and Air Force have each launched a broad review of the handling of classified documents, and some information as already been restricted. Additionally, the Department of Justice is investigating the matter. Teixeira was arrested by the FBI on April 13 and has been charged with violating the Espionage Act.
“Obviously in this case, this process fell apart,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. told lawmakers April 18. “We have a process of looking at accountability, not only from a criminal standpoint for the individual but also as we look at the organization itself. We’re going to take a look at our overall processes across the Department of the Air Force.”