The Air National Guard unit where the alleged leaker of Pentagon secrets was stationed worked with an active duty team at Ramstein Air Base in Germany that helps process data collected from spying missions related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing’s sensitive mission requirements could help explain how Airman Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old computer network technician, could have access to the broad array of classified intelligence materials he is accused of posting online, the WSJ reported. In addition, the base where Teixeira was stationed is one of eight National Guard centers that process drone and flight reconnaissance data in support of active-duty Air Force personnel.
Each month, defense leaders from across the globe gather at Ramstein to coordinate ongoing military support for Ukraine. One of the documents Texeira is suspected of leaking showed projected deficiencies in Ukraine’s air defenses, a topic that became the center of discussion at the latest April 21 meeting, according to Breaking Defense. (RELATED: China’s Supersonic Spy Drone Unit May Be Fully Operational, Leaked Docs Show)
Teixiera is accused of unlawfully possessing and transmitting classified intelligence but has yet to enter a plea. He allegedly took advantage of his position as an IT specialist with access to critical information- sharing networks to download what appears to be briefing materials intended for the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
While formerly considered a back-up reserve force, the Guard now participates in critical day-to-day operations of the U.S. military, according to the WSJ. As technology developed to allow data transmission from thousands of miles away, the Guard took the helm in the task of transforming raw data into “actionable intelligence,” information that can inform the military’s attack planning and understanding of enemy operations.
Guard personnel serve alongside active-duty troops at major Air Force bases in Virginia and California to process intelligence collected from manned and unmanned spying operations, as well as at six additional centers on Guard bases, according to the WSJ. One of those bases is the Otis Air National Guard base in Massachusetts, where Teixeira worked.
The National Guard now accounts for more than half of the Air Force’s targeting analysis work, the WSJ reported, citing National Guard data provided by officials. It also operates more than one-third of the Air Force’s MQ-9 Reaper drone missions globally, the data showed.
The Air National Guard was “involved” in the March incident when a Russian fighter jet harassed and fatally damaged an MQ-9 on a reconnaissance flight over the Black Sea, an official told the WSJ, without providing further details of the involvement.
In June, about 2,30o National Guard troops will participate in one of the largest air drills in Europe since the end of the Cold War, flying 110 aircraft including six F-35s from the Vermont Air National Guard and two MQ-9s, the WSJ reported.
It’s always an honor to work alongside Allies & partners as we work together to support Ukraine’s fight for freedom. The 50+ nations of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group have become an extraordinary community of action providing tremendous capability to 🇺🇦. pic.twitter.com/yvhLvEkMI2
— Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III (@SecDef) April 21, 2023
The Air National Guard declined to comment. Ramstein Air Base did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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