The FBI detained a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman for allegedly disclosing highly sensitive intelligence documents. This security lapse has threatened U.S. relations with some allies and efforts to aid Ukraine.
Federal agents took Jack Douglas Teixeira into custody on Thursday afternoon in Dighton, Massachusetts. Television footage showed armed agents escorting a man with his wrists cuffed behind his back, wearing red shorts and an olive green T-shirt.
Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed Mr. Teixeira’s arrest in relation to the alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information. Mr. Garland refused to elaborate, citing the investigation.
Mr. Teixeira is anticipated to appear in Massachusetts federal court on Friday. Mr. Teixeira has been serving in the Air National Guard since 2019 and is stationed at Massachusetts’ Otis Air National Guard Base. According to defense officials, he belonged to the 102nd Intelligence Wing. According to its website’s mission statement, the unit is responsible for providing worldwide precision intelligence and command and control.
Mr. Teixeira holds the rank of airman first class and is a subordinate Air Force communications specialist. It was initially unclear why someone with his employment designation, “cyber transport systems journeyman,” would have access to the files that were leaked.
It is believed that Mr. Teixeira divulged secrets to impress his fellow soldiers and gamers on a private online chat platform. According to two members who spoke to The Washington Post on condition of anonymity due to the FBI’s investigation of the matter, Mr. Teixeira began posting photos of classified documents on a private Discord server, where he was an administrator, claiming he got access to the information from his job at a military base. Discord is a social media site that is well-liked among gamers. According to the two members, the Discord chat group Mr. Teixeira was allegedly involved with consisted of fewer than two dozen males who founded the group on the popular game messaging platform Discord to discuss firearms, religion, and military equipment.
The vast majority of the more than 60 documents made public thus far appear to have come from the Central Intelligence Agency’s Operations Center and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Mr. Teixeira appears to have first published the papers online in January. The documents remained undiscovered by the outside world until early March when another member published some of them to a bigger Discord group, where they began to circulate more widely.
In early April, a Russian propaganda account on the social-media platform Telegram tweeted a crudely doctored version of one of the papers, along with a few unedited copies, attracting the attention of the media and the U.S. authorities. The illegal publication of classified material highlights the difficulty of protecting government secrets when such information is extensively disseminated across various military and intelligence employees. Pentagon authorities are now assessing how sensitive information was distribute