• Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s intelligence wing, was arrested Thursday in connection with the leaking of hundreds of pages of classified documents from the Defense Department.
  • The documents revealed weaknesses in the Ukrainian military, U.S. intelligence gathering directed at South Korea and Israel and other sensitive information.
  • President Joe Biden has said he is not concerned about the leak, but it has upended U.S. international relations.

The suspect in the classified intelligence documents leak has been identified as Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s intelligence wing, and is in custody, according to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland.

On Thursday, the FBI encircled Teixeira’s home with an armored vehicle and a dozen of uniformed officers. Garland announced his arrest at an afternoon news conference.

Hundreds of pages of sensitive documents from the Department of Defense were found online last month in a small Discord chatroom of about 20 to 30 teenagers, called Thug Shaker Central. The chat group’s leader was Teixeira, The New York Times reported Thursday. The leaking of sensitive information has upended U.S. international relations, revealing weaknesses in the Ukrainian military and exposing details of U.S. intelligence gathering on South Korea and Israel.

Members of the Discord group told the Times that the documents posted online by Teixeira were meant to be “purely informative” but received wider attention when one member posted some of the materials on a larger public online forum. However, the Pentagon called the leak a “deliberate, criminal act.” It’s unclear how long the documents had been circulating online before they were discovered in March.

Teixeira was arrested at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, on Thursday. Social media posts show that he was enlisted in the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and was promoted to airman first class last July. His mother confirmed that he was a member of the Air National Guard on Thursday and said he had recently been working at a base on Cape Cod.

Who Is Jack Teixeira?
An aerial photograph taken on March 8 shows the Pentagon, which has called a leak of classified Defense Department documents, discovered in March, a “deliberate, criminal act.”
Daniel Slim/AFP/Getty

Newsweek reached out by email to Discord’s press team for comment.

The Washington Post reported that Teixeira began posting to Discord last year and after several months started uploading “near-verbatim transcripts of classified intelligence documents” that he told members of Thug Shaker Central he brought home from his job on a “military base.”

Discord, which has about 150 million monthly users, became a popular platform during the pandemic, allowing users who were confined to their homes to interact with others on the site. The Post‘s report said Teixeira was among the users who bonded with others looking for companionship on Discord.

“The gathering spot had been a pandemic refuge, particularly for teen gamers locked in their houses and cut off from their real-world friends,” the Post said of Thug Shaker Central, where Teixeira was the administrator.

A member of the chatroom who referred to Teixeira by the moniker “OG” told the Post that the airman was a “smart person.”

“He knew what he was doing when he posted these documents, of course. These weren’t accidental leaks of any kind,” the member said. He also described “OG” as being “fit,” “strong,” “armed,” “trained” and “just about everything you can expect out of some sort of crazy movie.”

On Thursday, President Joe Biden said he was “not concerned” about the documents leak because it did not compromise intelligence “of great consequence.”

But the information exposed by the leak included suggestions that Ukrainian forces were not in as strong a position as had been stated publicly by their government. The leak detailed NATO’s plans to build up Ukraine’s military against Russia’s forces.

The documents also revealed warnings the U.S. sent to China about delivering military aid to Russia and disclosed that the U.S. had likely spied on a key ally, South Korea.