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Graham ‘stunned’ junior guardsman had access to intel files: ‘Some people need to be fired over this’
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, March 28, 2023.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a former Air National Guardsman, said on Sunday he was “stunned” that the 21-year-old guardsman who was arrested last week in connection with leaked classified military material could have so much access to sensitive intelligence documents.
“I was a captain and major. I would be surprised if I had that kind of information,” Graham said on ABC’s “This Week.” “I am stunned that somebody at that level could have so much access.”
Jack Teixeira was arrested last week in connection with the leaks that apparently show NATO intelligence on the Ukrainian war, including death tolls and the training details of Ukrainian and Russian troops.
The documents were first leaked to an online gaming community that was allegedly led by Teixeira. Graham said the leak has “done a lot of damage” to U.S. standing.
“I don’t know what led to this airman’s actions, but he’s done a lot of damage to our standing,” Graham said. “It’s very hard to get people to come forward right now to tell us about things we need to know about if they feel like they’re going to be compromised.”
Graham also called for accountability when it comes to punishment over the leaked materials.
“The question is, how did he get it and why did he do it?” Graham said. “Some people need to be fired over this.”
In the aftermath of Teixeira’s arrest, some Republicans, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Fox News host Tucker Carlson tried to defend the suspected leaker, saying he exposed the extent to which the U.S. is intertwined with the war in Ukraine. But Graham criticized those in his party who offered praise.
“And those who are trying to sugar coat this on the right, you cannot allow a single individual of the military, intelligence community to leak classified information because they disagree with policy,” Graham said.