The 21-year-old National Guard member who was arrested by FBI officials on Thursday for posting photos of scores of classified Pentagon documents online is a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and the leader of the online gaming group 'Thug Shaker Central.'
Jack Teixeira is believed to have circulated between 50 to 100 classified US documents, several of which are related to the war in Ukraine. He went by the name 'Jack the Dripper' and was referred to as 'OG' by other members. He is believed to be the eldest in the online group that primarily comprises teens and youngsters who are keen on guns, gaming and right-wing memes.
Genius Brain in Dangerous Activity
Airman Teixeira is a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base. His official job title is a journeyman in Cyber Transport Systems.
According to the Air Force, these experts guarantee the efficient and smooth operation of the service's "vast, global communications network."
He enlisted in the military in September 2019 and was promoted to airman first class in July. Although holding a lower-level position, he had the best access to top-secret US government data.
According to his mother, who spoke to the New York Times, Teixeira had recently been working night shifts at an air base on Cape Cod.
Teixeira is charged with releasing hundreds of secret military documents using Discord, a social media site used by gamers to organize in groups and communicate.
The war in Ukraine was a major topic of the documents that were disclosed in the Thug Shaker Discord. It's believed that between 50 and 100 confidential documents have been photographed and uploaded online over the past few months.
Members who spoke to The New York Times claimed that they did not take a side in the conflict and that the materials they shared online were only meant to be informational.
The leaked data, however, didn't really gain proper traction until they were reposted into a Discord group belonging to Wow Mao, a 20-year-old British college student and YouTuber.
Mischief Ends Up in Espionage
According to the New York Times, which broke the initial story on Teixeira's identity on Thursday, investigators want to talk to Teixeira about the leak and is said to have information that could be helpful to the case.
Teixeira was arrested on Thursday from his home after being implicated in the leak of dozens of sensitive US intelligence documents. FBI is likely to search his home, according to multiple reports.
The swiftly unfolding events were in response to a late-Wednesday report by the Washington Post that the classified documents had been shared with a Discord channel called "Thug Shaker Central," which was populated by two dozen online friends who frequently discussed guns, video games, and racist memes.
Last week's Pentagon document leak is the most embarrassing security lapse for any US administration since WikiLeaks received more than 700,000 confidential documents and diplomatic cables in 2013.
According to the New York Times, the inside of Teixeira's childhood home in Bristol, Massachusetts, matched pictures of the private US intelligence and Ukrainian war files that have been circulated on forums since last year's end.
In at least two photos, a pamphlet with what appears to be information on a rifle scope can be seen. In another image, a Gorilla Glue container can be seen.
President Biden told reporters in Ireland on Thursday morning that federal investigators were "near" to identifying the leaker.
However, Biden said that because the material in the documents is not "contemporaneous," he is not "concerned" about their dissemination and the potential harm to American assets abroad.
The intelligence contained in the files included information that might put U.S. intelligence sources around the world at danger and indicate that Ukraine will soon run out of artillery.
The group where those files were posted is claimed to comprise dozens of teens and young adults who have been characterized as being "like-minded."
On Wednesday night, The Washington Post received a description of the suspect from two chat room participants. "He's fit. He's strong. He's armed. He's trained. Just about everything you can expect out of some sort of crazy movie," one of the members said.
He described him as "a young, charismatic man who loves nature, God, shooting guns and racing cars."
While a few of them stated that the leaker wasn't a whistleblower and had never intended for the information to be disseminated anywhere other than their online chat, others disputed this claim.