Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, warned on Sunday against defending Jack Teixeira, the suspect in the Pentagon documents leak, who Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, praised for allegedly leaking classified intelligence records.
Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, was arrested on Thursday by the FBI for allegedly leaking the documents through a Discord chat group in recent months. Many of the documents included details about the military capabilities of Russia and Ukraine, and information related to the Middle East and Asia.
The Pentagon confirmed the authenticity of the leaked documents and called the leak a “deliberate, criminal act,” according to Reuters, but Greene appeared to defend Teixeira on Thursday on Twitter, saying “Jake Teixeira is white, male, christian, and antiwar. That makes him an enemy to the Biden regime.”
She added: “And he told the truth about troops being on the ground in Ukraine and a lot more. Ask yourself who is the real enemy? A young low level national guardsmen? Or the administration that is waging war in Ukraine, a non-NATO nation, against nuclear Russia without war powers?”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson also praised Teixeira and alleged that the leaks prove that U.S. troops are “fighting Russian soldiers” in Ukraine, without providing evidence for his claim.
“Now our news media exists, and have constitutional protection, precisely in order to push back against this grotesque standard. Their only job is to tell the truth, yet tonight the news media are celebrating the capture of the kid who told Americans what’s actually happening in Ukraine,” Carlson said Thursday evening on his Fox News program.
ABC News’ This Week host Jonathan Karl asked Graham on Sunday about what he makes of Greene’s and Carlson’s remarks.
“What they’re suggesting will destroy America’s ability to defend itself. That it’s OK to release classified information based on your political views. That the ends justify the means. It is not OK,” Graham responded.
He continued: “If you’re a member of the military intelligence community and you disagree with American policy and you think you’re going to be OK when it comes to leaking classified information, you’re going to go to jail. It’s one of the most irresponsible statements you could make. The ability for America to gather intelligence from human resources on the ground has been compromised. We can’t have a chaotic intelligence gathering system. If you give us information and it’s disclosed, you can lose your life. The way we gather intelligence protects our country. There are military members serving today from Georgia and other places who are less safe because of what this airman did.”
The GOP senator added that it is “terribly irresponsible” for Congress members to justify Teixeira’s actions as it puts America in a “serious danger.”
Former Representative Liz Cheney, a Wyoming Republican, also criticized Greene’s remarks, saying on Twitter that the Georgia congresswoman “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.”
Meanwhile, President Joe Biden said Thursday that he wasn’t concerned about the leak compromising national intelligence. The leak included information about the weaknesses in Ukrainian military forces and detailed NATO’s plans to supplement the Ukrainian military against Russia’s attack. It also revealed that the United States had issued warnings to China against delivering military aid to Russia and showed that the U.S. had likely spied on South Korea, a U.S. ally.
Newsweek reached out by email to Greene’s media spokesperson for comment.