Pentagon leak suspect had personal arsenal, wanted to kill a “ton of people”.
OK parole board rejects clemency for Richard Glossip, a death row inmate many believe innocent.
Senators want US to seize Iranian oil tankers.
Pentagon leak suspect had personal arsenal, wanted to kill a “ton of people”
Massachusetts Air National guardsman Jack Teixeira, 21, appeared today for a detention hearing to decide whether he will remain in custody until his trial. Teixeira is accused of leaking a large trove of highly classified Pentagon briefing documents in a Discord chat. The court issued no decision today regarding his detention but will in the coming days.
Prosecutors argued that Teixeira should remain in jail while awaiting trial. They argued that he could be a potential flight risk as nations hostile to the US “could offer him safe harbor and attempt to facilitate his escape from the United States.”
Additionally, they said that there is no guarantee that Teixeira couldn’t do further damage to national security if he remained free.
“There simply is no condition or combination of conditions that can ensure the defendant will not further disclose additional information still in his knowledge or possession,” prosecutors wrote.
Racist, violent threats
Prosecutors also cited troubling statements from Teixeira on social media that indicated he was at risk of perpetrating a mass killing. In social media posts, Teixeira wrote that he wanted to “kill a fuck ton of people” to serve his goal of “culling the weak minded”.
Teixeira even sketched out a plan of how he would do this. He described building an “assassination van” which he would drive around while shooting people in a “crowded urban or suburban environment”. In another post, he mused about bombing his school.
And Teixeira possessed the arsenal to do this. In Teixeira’s bedroom at his family home, police found numerous “bolt-action rifles, rifles, AR and AK-style weapons, and a bazooka”. In a dumpster, police found a military style helmet with a mounting bracket for a GoPro camera. Police also found a smashed tablet, laptop and Xbox console in the dumpster.
Since Teixeira’s arrest, lawmakers have raised questions about why and how Teixeira had apparently unfettered access to such sensitive information. Many have also raised concerns about the vetting process for the 4 million or so Americans with classification clearances. This filing by prosecutors in Teixeira’s case will surely only raise more concerns and questions.
In 2018 while Teixeira was in high school, a classmate overheard Teixeira making racial threats involving Molotov cocktails and other weapons. This resulted in a suspension. That same year, Teixeira applied for a firearm license which law enforcement rejected over concerns about those statements.
The very next year in 2019, Teixeira enrolled in the Guard. Teixeira’s attorneys say the incident was “fully known and vetted” by the military before he enrolled and when he received his classification clearance.
In 2020, Teixeira applied again for a firearms license, citing “his position of trust in the United States government as a reason he could be trusted to possess a firearm”. The filings don’t clarify whether the weapons in Teixeira’s room were purchased by him or by a family member.
Teixeira also used his government computer to research several of America’s mass shootings, including Ruby Ridge, Uvalde and Las Vegas. According to Dan Meyer, an attorney specializing in security clearance issues, these searches on Teixeira’s government device should have triggered an immediate security referral. This could have led to an in-depth review of Teixeira’s activity by his superiors. It’s not yet clear whether such a referral was generated or whether Teixeira’s superiors acted on the information.
OK parole board rejects clemency for Richard Glossip, a death row inmate many believe innocent
Richard Glossip, 60, is once again facing a May 18 execution date after an Oklahoma Parole Board rejected his plea for clemency yesterday. This is Glossip’s 9th execution date in 15 years. He’s been served his “last meal” three times.
Glossip has been convicted of murder for hire in the 1997 beating death of his boss Barry Van Treese, who ran a seedy motel in a Oklahoma City suburb. The hotel’s handyman, Justin Sneed, admitted beating Van Treese to death but claimed Glossip had hired him to do it. That testimony kept Sneed off death row.
The board voted 2-2 to reject Glossip’s plea to commute his sentence from death to life in prison. This was despite an impassioned argument from Oklahoma’s Republican Attorney General Gentner Drummond who appeared at the hearing to plead for clemency on Glossip’s behalf. Drummond also recently appeared before the state Court of Appeals to call for a new trial in Glossip’s case. The court also rejected this appeal.
Glossip’s attorney Don Knight told CNN that his client was hurt by the decision but remains hopeful. Knight said the board’s ruling was especially shocking as he believed the hearing had gone very well. Not only did the state’s AG appear to plead for clemency, which is unprecedented, several Republican state lawmakers spoke on Glossip’s behalf and submitted letters of support.
Knight says he will now appeal to the US Supreme Court to appeal for an emergency stay of execution. Republican lawmakers in the state will also appeal to the Republican Governor Kevin Stitt.
A flawed investigation and prosecutorial misconduct
Glossip’s case has received widespread attention, thanks in part to the 2017 documentary “Killing Richard Glossip”. Facts have come to light in recent years which have led many to believe Glossip is innocent. An independent review commissioned by Drummond also found egregious irregularities in Glossip’s trials and the investigation and recommended that his conviction be overturned.
Beginning with the investigation, interrogation tapes show that when police arrested Sneed, they encouraged him to say that Glossip had hired him to kill Van Treese, saying it would help Sneed avoid the death penalty.
Sneed ran with this story, testifying at trial that Glossip was the mastermind. Sneed’s testimony is the only thing linking Glossip to Von Treese’s death. While in prison, Sneed reportedly bragged to fellow inmates that he’d escaped the death penalty by blaming Glossip.
Additionally, the review found that prosecutors and police illegally destroyed evidence that could have exonerated Glossip following his first trial. When his conviction was overturned and he was granted a new trial, this evidence was not available. Sneed again testified against Glossip, ensuring Sneed would remain off death row.
In recent years, Sneed apparently had a change of heart. He wrote to his public defender asking about whether he could recant his testimony. His attorney advised him not to, as it was only his testimony that kept him off death row.
Senators want US to seize Iranian oil tankers
Republican and Democratic senators are calling on President Biden to enable the Department of Homeland Security to seize Iranian oil tankers. In 2018, the US imposed an embargo on Iranian oil. In 2019 under former President Trump, DHS empowered an enforcement program by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to seize tankers carrying Iranian oil at sea. The program seized about $228 billion in Iranian oil.
A recent policy change to the Department of Treasury’s Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture has halted seizures by HSI. It’s not clear from the senators’ letter exactly when this policy changed or why. It says that no funding was appropriated for the HSI program, which is puzzling since the program is supposed to be self-funded from seizures.
Whatever the reasons, the letter states that HSI has been unable to seize any tankers violating the embargo for over a year, despite “credible leads”.
The senators’ call to reverse this policy seems to be retaliation after the Navy accused Iran of seizing a Marshall Islands-flagged oil tanker bound for Texas.
The last time the US seized a tanker carrying Iranian oil was last year when a shipment was seized in Greek waters. This sparked a tit-f0r-tat in which Iran seized two Greek oil tankers. After the Greek Supreme Court ordered the Iranian shipment to be released, Iran released the two Greek tankers.
Resuming the policy of seizing oil tankers seems likely to escalate tensions at a sensitive moment for US-Middle East relations.