Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called the remarks by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., defending the alleged leaker “one of the most irresponsible statements she could make
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., excoriated Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., on Sunday over her defense of the Air National Guardsman suspected of leaking a trove of classified documents.
Greene defended the leak suspect, Jack Teixeira, 21, in two tweets last week. Greene, a far-right lawmaker who serves on the Homeland Security Committee, claimed the Biden administration was “the real enemy” and had “lied to us from the very beginning.”
Graham said on ABC News’ “This Week”: “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 she could make,” he added.
Graham said he was worried about the U.S.’s ability to gather intelligence after the Defense Department documents were leaked, adding that military members are “less safe” because of the leak.
“There is no justification for this,” Graham said. “And for any member of Congress to suggest it’s OK to leak classified information because you agree with the cause is terrible irresponsible and puts America in serious danger.”
Teixeira was arrested Thursday at a home in North Dighton, Massachusetts, more than an hour from the military base where he worked. He made his first court appearance Friday and was charged with possessing classified documents pertaining to national security and possessing national defense materials. The charges carry a maximum of 10 years behind bars.
NBC News obtained more than 50 of the leaked documents, many of them labeled “Top Secret,” the highest level of classification. They reveal details of U.S. spying on Russia’s war machine in Ukraine and secret assessments of Ukraine’s combat power, as well as intelligence about America’s allies, including South Korea and Israel.
Several lawmakers voiced worries on Sunday programs.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, said that there will be a briefing with all senators this week and that both panels will hold hearings.
“And the Intelligence Committee is also going to have a thorough investigation. We focused intensely on how we keep our secrets safe,” Gillibrand said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And I have a lot of questions about why were these documents lying around. Why did this particular person have access to them? Where was the custody of the documents, and who were they for?”
“We need to know the facts. We need to know who this airman was, why he felt he had the authority or ability to show off confidential documents, secret documents to his friends,” she added. “It sounds like he was extremely immature and someone who did not understand the weight and the importance of these documents. And so we need to figure it out and put proper protections in place.”
Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., a member of the Armed Services Committee, said it’s too soon for people to praise or condemn the suspect because an investigation hasn’t concluded yet.
“I want to know, I think like every other American, who was in charge. And each side right now — one side is calling him a traitor, the other side’s calling him a hero,” Mace said in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
“But neither side has the information or the data to be able to make that decision yet, because there’s been no investigation, and we haven’t even had our first classified briefing, which will happen later this week when we’re back in session.”
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