WASHINGTON (CN) — A technology support staffer for the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested Thursday afternoon in connection with a trove of classified documents shared to a messaging platform that Pentagon officials discovered early this month.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday that the Justice Department had arrested Jack Teixeira, 21, of North Dighton, Mass., for allegedly removing and transmitting national security documents.
“FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident,” the attorney general said in a statement. “I want to thank the FBI, Justice Department prosecutors, and our colleagues at the Department of Defense for their diligent work on this case.”
Teixeira will have his first appearance before a judge in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Garland said.
The FBI’s Boston office announced that it had made the arrest in a statement. “The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence,” the agency said. “Since late last week the FBI has aggressively pursed 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 New York Times first reported that Teixeira told members of a group on the internet chat platform Discord that he worked at an Air National Guard base on Cape Cod. Teixeira used a pseudonym, according to two people familiar with the investigation who spoke on the condition of anonymity, when he published the classified documents to the Discord server.
The documents were allegedly shared in a forum where members debated the war in Ukraine.
The leak included pages detailing U.S. intelligence reviews of Ukrainian military capabilities made for Pentagon officials, including information unveiling weaknesses in Kyiv’s strategy to defend itself against invading Russia.
Also in the package of documents were methods that the intelligence community uses to gather information on Washington’s allies and enemies alike. The leak describes intelligence operations on Russia but also U.S. partner states such as Israel and South Korea.
Discord told the Associated Press that it was cooperating with authorities.
The Biden administration has been working to assess the severity of the leaked documents. President Biden, who is on a state visit to Ireland this week, told reporters that there was nothing in the leaked documents that he believed was “of great consequence” to U.S. national security interests.
Teixeira joined the Air National Guard in 2019 and holds the rank of airman first class. He has been working as a cyber transport systems journeyman at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod. A July 7 Facebook post from an account belonging to the 102nd Air Intelligence Wing congratulates an airman with the name Jack Teixeira for his promotion to the same rank.Follow @@BenjaminSWeiss
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