The US airman responsible for one of the most severe US intelligence leaks in a decade has pled guilty to six counts of willful transmission of national defense information and is now facing a sentence of up to 16 years and eight months.

The espionage charges that were dropped under the deal would have put him behind bars for life.

Jack Teixeira, who was a junior Massachusetts Air National Guard IT specialist at the time of the incident, shared a series of classified documents on the Pentagon’s assessment of Ukraine’s combat capabilities on Discord, a messaging platform frequented by gamers.

The documents, which also included Washington’s spying activities on allies Israel and South Korea and other sensitive details, were then circulated on various online platforms such as Twitter and Reddit, and culminated in a televised FBI arrest of Teixeira in his house.

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Teixeira said he was aware the documents were classified in court.

Under the new deal, Teixeira will be sentenced to up to 16 years and eight months, and he must pay a fine of $50,000 and assist intelligence officials to understand the extent and impact of his disclosures.

Teixeira was an airman first class, the third-lowest rank for enlisted US Air Force personnel, at the time of the incident, and he had possessed a top-secret security clearance since 2021.

The incident was described by some as the worst intelligence leak since the Edward Snowden incident in 2013, where Snowden, a former National Security Agency employee and subcontractor who now lives in Russia, disclosed Washington’s spying activities on its allies in a widely publicized whistleblowing incident.

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