FBI agents arrest Jack Teixeira on Thursday. Photo: WCVB (Boston) via Reuters
U.S. authorities arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman, on Thursday in connection to the massive leak of highly classified Pentagon documents.
Why it matters: The leak has captured national attention and its revelations about the U.S. government's relations with its adversaries and allies have reverberated across the world.
Who is Jack Teixeira?
Teixeira, currently the prime suspect in the case, came from a military family and was mobilized for federal active duty last fall, the Washington Post reported.
- He was stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts and was detailed to an Air Force intelligence unit, according to AP.
- Teixeira worked as an IT specialist responsible for military communications networks.
- His work meant he had a higher level of security clearance in order to access the military communications networks, a defense official told AP, helping explain how he had access to the classified documents.
What do we know about the arrest?
Teixeira was arrested in connection to "unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information," Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed Thursday.
- The FBI confirmed in a statement Thursday that the arrest occurred at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts.
- Teixeira had been under surveillance for several days prior to his arrest, which took place outside his mother's house, CNN reported.
How were the documents leaked?
A man known as "OG" initially began sharing the documents with roughly two dozen acquaintances — mostly men and boys — in a private chat room called "Thug Shaker Central" on the gamer-friendly platform Discord, the Washington Post reported earlier this week.
- Teixeira, who was later identified as the suspected leaker, spent years posting about memes, guns and games on the platform, per AP.
- He saw himself as an unofficial leader of the group and wanted to impress other members and teach them "about actual war," members told the New York Times.
- The poster, who used several online handles including "jackthedripper" and "excalibureffect," uploaded images of the documents to the Discord server, the Washington Post reported, citing people familiar with the case.
- Members of the Discord group also showed the Post video of Teixeira "shouting racist and antisemitic slurs before firing a rifle."
Teixeira is slated to make his first court appearance in Boston on Friday.
- It's not yet clear what penalty Teixeira will face if convicted. It depends on how many counts he faces and whether he would serve those sentences concurrently or consecutively, per AP.
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