On Thursday, the FBI arrested a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard as the suspected leaker of the classified documents from the Pentagon and other US government agencies that have surfaced online.
Jack Teixeira was first named before the arrest as the potential leaker by The New York Times. The paper conducted an investigation with the website Bellingcat, which is funded by the EU and often praised by US intelligence officials, to identify the leaker.
According to the Times report, the paper discussed Teixeira with US government officials and asked for a comment from the FBI before the agency made his name public.
“Today, the Justice Department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information. Teixeira is an employee of the United States Air Force National Guard,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said after the arrest.
Teixeira is a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, but it’s not clear how the young airman would have access to so many top-secret documents. According to the Times, he was promoted to airman first class last July, the third enlisted rank.
He worked for the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, which is located at a base in Cape Cod. His job title was a Cyber Transport Systems Journeymen, which entails repairing communications equipment.
Teixeira is accused of posting the documents on a server on Discord, a messaging platform mainly used by gamers. The chat where he was sending the documents was private and had about 25 members, a group of young men and teenage boys.
One member of the Discord server was said to start releasing the documents in other chat rooms in March, and the documents were eventually discovered by the Times. According to The Washington Post, there were 300 photos of documents that Teixeira allegedly posted.
A 17-year-old who was a member of the Discord server and spoke to the Times described the person who allegedly leaked the documents as “antiwar” and a “Christian” who just “wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on.”