Garland’s Investigation of the Leap of Military and Government Documents on the Massachusetta Air National Guard Member: MRGT Teixeira
Attorney General Merrick Garland said that a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested by the FBI on Thursday as a result of the leaking of classified documents.
The FBI said in a statement that it took Teixeira into custody “at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, for his alleged involvement in leaking classified U.S. government and military documents.”
Magistrate Judge David Hennessy informed Teixeira of the charges he’s facing and scheduled a detention hearing for Teixeira on Wednesday. He will remain detained until then. Teixeira did not enter a formal plea.
“The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence,” the agency said. “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 documents that were posted to social media include detailed intelligence assessments of allies and adversaries alike as well as on the state of the war in Ukraine and the challenges Kyiv and Moscow face as it appears stuck in a stalemate.
The search for the suspect began with thousands of people who had access to the documents, but investigators were able to quickly narrow the search to potential members of the chat group with evidence collected in the days immediately following the discovery of classified documents online by US officials.
A US official said that President Joe Biden was briefed regularly on the investigation as it continued over the past week.
An Airman Journeyman from the Massachusetts Air National Guard: The Anatomy of a Military Soldier Leashed on a Social Media Group
According to his service record released by the Air Force Thursday, he is an enlisted airman at the Massachusetts Air National Guard. He joined the service in September 2019 and his official job is Cyber Transport Systems journeyman. Cyber Transport Systems specialists are charged with ensuring the service’s “vast, global communications network is operating properly.”
On Wednesday, The Washington Post first reported that the person behind the leak worked on a military base and posted sensitive national security secrets in an online group of acquaintances. The Post story described the alleged leaker as a lonely, young man with a love of guns and military equipment who was in a group on the social media platform Discord that shared a love of those things.
Teixeira would sometimes wear camouflage to school, carried a “dictionary-sized book on guns” and behaved in a way that made some students uneasy, former classmates said.
John Powell, who also attended middle school and high school with Teixeira, said he recalled him as a pleasant and quiet kid who was sometimes picked on. He said that he didn’t have many friends.
Teixeira grew up in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, according to public records. He received his high school degree in 2020 from Dighton-Rehoboth.
Other students, who asked not to be identified, said they detected a more menacing vibe from Teixeira, who some recalled making comments they perceived as racist or mumbling derogatory things about people under his breath.
The student said that he was surprised by the allegations against him, since he had taken his fascination with the military to be American nationalism. She wasn’t sure he was capable of doing something like this.
Investigating the Interaction of the Joint Staff and the Air National Guard with High-Sensitive Defense Officials: On the Leashing of a Top Secret US Government Document Network
Some US officials who used to receive the briefing materials daily have stopped receiving them in recent days, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, as the Pentagon’s Joint Staff continues to whittle down its distribution lists.
The Joint Staff, which comprises the Defense Department’s most senior uniformed leadership that advises the president, began examining its distribution lists immediately after learning of the trove of leaked classified documents – many of which had markings indicating that they had been produced by the Joint Staff’s intelligence arm, known as the J2.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said Thursday that he is directing the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to review intelligence access, following the arrest of the Air National Guardsman.
Ryder said the Pentagon continues “to review a variety of factors as it relates to safeguarding classified materials. This includes examining and updating distribution lists, assessing how and where intelligence products are shared, and a variety of other steps.”
The criminal investigation is being led by the FBI’s Washington field office, including a team of counterintelligence investigators experienced in hunting leaks.
Those investigators are also working with Pentagon officials on the damage assessment, which would become part of the evidence to be used in any potential prosecution that results.
The young man who was arrested by the FBI on Thursday in connection with leaking a trove of classified US government documents has a fascination with military and war, according to several former high school classmates.
A defense official said that Teixeria needed a security clearance because he was working on a network that had highly classified information.
Several US officials tell CNN that he is believed to be the leader of an obscure invite-only chat room called Thugshaker Central, which has information from top secret government documents firstposted months ago.
According to an affidavit, a user of the Discord served by the FBI stated that, in December 2022, Teixeira began posting information and began posting photos of documents around January 2023.
The person who leaked classified Pentagon documents posted on social media has been charged with two crimes.
Jack Teixeira, 21-year-old Airman with the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Arrived for the First FBI Search on Discord
Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old airman with the Massachusetts Air National Guard, made his first appearance in federal court in Boston Friday morning following his arrest by the FBI in North Dighton, Massachusetts, on Thursday.
The courtroom was occupied by a man in a tan shirt and pants from the detention center. He entered the courtroom in shackles, though his hands were uncuffed before he sat down at the defense table.
The Boston courtroom was full, including three people sitting on a bench reserved for family. When Teixeira entered the courtroom, he did not look at his family members.
The unnamed individual who spoke to the FBI said that Teixeira told him that he was concerned about making the transcription at work so “he began taking the documents to his residence and photographing them.”
Four Discord users active in a different Discord chatroom where the documents later appeared told CNN the documents began circulating on Thug Shaker. Another user who was in the Thug Shaker chatroom told CNN they saw the original posts of classified documents but declined to speak further about them.
Biden was also briefed regularly on the efforts by his top officials to engage with allies who have been identified within, or unsettled by, the content of the leaked information, one official said.
Before the arrest on Thursday, Biden downplayed the impact of the leaked documents. There is nothing I know of that would be of any consequence, but I am concerned that it happened.