Jack Teixeira: What We Know About Pentagon Documents Leak Suspect

Last Updated: April 14, 2023, 07:22 AM IST

This image made from video provided by WCVB-TV, shows Jack Teixeira, in T-shirt and shorts, being taken into custody by armed tactical agents on Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Dighton, Mass. (WCVB-TV via AP)

This image made from video provided by WCVB-TV, shows Jack Teixeira, in T-shirt and shorts, being taken into custody by armed tactical agents on Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Dighton, Mass. (WCVB-TV via AP)

Jack Teixeira, who is an IT specialist and an employee of the US Air Force National Guard, was identified by The New York Times prior to his arrest

Less than a week after reports of leaks of highly classified military documents surfaced, the FBI on Thursday took US airman Jack Teixeira into custody in connection with the disclosure of top-secret information about the Ukraine war and other top national security issues.

FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate joined Attorney General Merrick B. Garland to announce that 21-year-old Teixeira was arrested from his residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts.

“Today, the FBI took 21-year-old Jack Douglas Teixeira into custody without incident at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, for his alleged involvement in leaking classified U.S. government and military documents,” the federal agency said in a statement.

“Since late last week, the FBI has aggressively pursued investigative leads, and today’s arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country’s trust and put our national security at risk,” the statement added.

Jack Teixeira, who is an IT specialist and an employee of the US Air Force National Guard, was identified by The New York Times prior to his arrest.

He reportedly led a private Discord group where a small group of men posted memes and discussed shared interests, including gaming and guns.  The Washington Post reported that the classified documents originated in a small Discord server known as “Thug Shaker Central”.

Addressing a press conference, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the US airman is to be charged with removing or transmitting classified national defence information, a crime under the Espionage Act.

Garland said that Teixeira was arrested “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defence information.”

News footage of the operation showed the suspect dressed in red shorts and a t-shirt with his hands behind his head, backing slowly toward camouflage-clad law enforcement personnel who took him into custody, AFP reported.

US Defence Sectary Loyd Austin praised the Justice Department for swift arrest in connection with the document leak probe.

“I want to commend the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their swift arrest in connection with this investigation. I pledge the full support and cooperation of the Department of Defense to the DOJ’s investigation,” he said in a press statement.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a US defense official told the Associated Press that Teixeira was a “cyber transport systems specialist,” essentially an IT specialist responsible for military communications networks.

According to The New York Times, a “trail of digital evidence” pointed to Teixeira as the leader of the private group on Discord where the documents surfaced.

The high-level security breach has revealed US unease over the viability of a Ukraine counteroffensive against Russian troops. Besides this, concerns were raised about Ukrainian air defences, and pointed to the US spying on allies.

(With inputs from multiple agencies)

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