The FBI on Thursday arrested Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, in connection with the leak of classified Pentagon documents online that led to the secret materials being spread across various social media platforms.
FBI agents arrested Teixeira at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts. The FBI, accompanied by other government officials, drone onto the property of Teixeira’s parents and called out to the 21-year-old.
Later, footage from a local television news helicopter and shared by other media publications showed heavily armed FBI agents taking Teixeira, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts, into custody. He surrendered “without incident,” per a brief statement released by Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Teixeira is an airman first class with the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing and is tied to the online Discord group Thug Shaker Central where the leaked Pentagon documents first appeared several months ago. The documents were later shared outside the Discord group and across social media platforms, including Telegram and Twitter.
It is unclear how Teixeira gained access to the classified information, which included the Defense Department’s analysis of the Russia-Ukraine conflict and a supposed plan for Russian officials to sabotage President Vladimir Putin‘s war. The leaked documents also included sensitive information about Russian military activity, China, South Korea and the Middle East.
U.S. officials have so far refused to reveal what part of Teixeira’s duties would require him to have access to secret documents. However, one official who talked to The New York Times said Teixeira could have gained access to the documents through daily emails. The official added that the emails, which are sent to government officials with security clearance, could easily be forwarded to other people.
It is also unclear what motive Teixeira had to leak the documents on Discord. However, outrage about wrongdoing or current government policies does not appear to be a factor.
Texeira is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday for his arraignment in Boston. He will be charged with the alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information, Garland said.