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Alleged Guardsman Leaker Made Violent Threats, Yet Got Gun Permit

As a high-school student, Jack Teixeira, the Air National Guardsman charged with leaking classified intelligence documents, admitted he made violent threats that prevented him from getting a firearms license. Two years later, he secured a top-secret security clearance. The episode, reported to local police, was one of several that Teixeira admitted had been problematic, including authorities weighing his application for a gun license, investigators who granted him a security clearance, and to fellow online gamers with whom he allegedly offered to share classified documents, according to prosecutors' court filings, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Prosecutors want to keep Teixeira jailed while his court case proceeds, arguing he is a dangerous flight risk who might still be able to access sensitive material that could aid foreign adversaries. He has been jailed since his arrest earlier this month. A judge didn’t immediately issue a ruling after a Thursday detention hearing. Defense attorney Brendan Kelley told a federal judge Thursday that his client was a “21-year-old kid” who still lives in his hometown and would stay with his father if released while his case proceeds. That Teixeira, who was denied a permit to own a gun over police concerns about violent threats at his high school, could soon be granted a security clearance suggests lapses in the clearance process, say current and former national security officials. “Repugnant views and having lots of guns in your bedroom are not automatically going to disqualify you for a security clearance,” said Glenn Gerstell, a former lawyer at the National Security Agency. It is “not an easy problem to solve.” It is not clear that the material presented by prosecutors, including Teixeira’s purported social-media posts celebrating and threatening mass murder, would have turned up in routine counterintelligence-focused screenings, Gerstell said.

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