WASHINGTON (CN) — House Democrats raked conservative firebrand Marjorie Taylor Greene over the coals this week after the lawmaker went to bat for a member of the Air National Guard who is suspected of having leaked a trove of national security documents.
The Department of Justice brought charges Friday against Jack Teixeira, a technology support staffer in the Air National Guard’s 102nd Air Intelligence Wing.
Teixeira, 21, allegedly posted pages of classified documents related to Ukrainian military capabilities and U.S. intelligence operations in a group on the internet chat platform Discord. He is charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials.
After the suspected leaker's arrest Thursday at his home in Massachusetts, Greene, a Georgia Republican, took to social media where she appeared to defend his actions.
“Jake Teixeira is white, male, christian [sic], and antiwar,” the lawmaker tweeted. “That makes him an enemy to the Biden regime.”
Greene, who sits on the House Committee on Homeland Security, argued that by posting classified documents on a Discord server, Teixeira “told the truth” about troops on the ground in Ukraine. “Ask yourself who is the real enemy,” she said, “a young low level national guardsmen [sic]? Or the administration that is waging war in Ukraine, a non-NATO nation, against nuclear Russia without war powers?”
House Democrats on the homeland security panel argued that Greene’s rhetoric puts U.S. national security at further risk.
“To be clear, no Member of Congress should be glorifying this individual or such criminal violations,” committee ranking member Bennie Thompson said in a statement Friday. “Such rhetoric by an elected official similarly endangers Americans, our allies, and U.S. interests and should be condemned by all.”
California Democrat Robert Garcia, who also sits on the homeland security committee, urged House Speaker Kevin McCarthy in a tweet Thursday to remove Greene from the panel. His Golden State colleague Ted Lieu blasted the speaker for putting her there in the first place.
“Marjorie Taylor Greene is the face of House Republicans,” Lieu tweeted.
Former Wyoming Senator Liz Cheney also joined in on the dogpile. “Marjorie Taylor Greene makes clear yet again that she cannot be trusted with America’s national security information and should not have a security clearance of any kind,” the Republican wrote.
A spokesperson for Greene’s office did not immediately return a request for comment. The lawmaker softened her remarks slightly Friday afternoon, acknowledging in a tweet that leaking classified documents was a serious charge. Despite that, Greene suggested that some people were calling Teixeira a “hero” for his alleged actions.
“Criticism about who can be trusted with national intelligence need to ask themselves that question again,” Greene wrote. “Who do you trust with critical information that affects the safety of our nation and our very own lives?”
Teixeira, meanwhile, faces a federal court detention hearing in Boston next week. The national guardsman has yet to enter a plea.
Pentagon officials became aware in early April that a package of classified documents had been leaked on Discord. Among the information made public was an intelligence assessment of Ukrainian military capabilities including potential weaknesses in Kyiv’s air defenses and other strategies for fighting invading Russian forces.
The leak detailed U.S. espionage efforts against Russian intelligence services, as well as similar operations on Washington’s allies such as Ukraine, Israel and South Korea.
While the White House has said that it is investigating the scope of the leaks, President Biden made his opinion clear that the information contained in the publicized documents does not appear to be particularly damaging to U.S. national security.Follow @@BenjaminSWeiss
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