FBI arrested a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman, who has been identified as the leader of a Discord group where a trove of secret US intelligence documents was leaked online. Jack Teixeira, 21, who is believed to be the source of the largest American intelligence leak in almost a decade, arrested at his home Thursday.
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. The Wall Street Journal stated separately that the case might result in an arrest as soon as Thursday.
Young Brain Behind Leak
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.
He was a member of the intelligence branch of Massachusetts Air National Guard's and the leader of an internet chat group where top-secret Pentagon documents were leaked.
Teixeira was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, the outlet added.
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.
Teixeira was known to channel members as "jackthedripper," the outlet claimed on Thursday.
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.
Beginning of a Bigger Investigation
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.
According to several group members, the top-secret documents were initially posted in the group's Discord chat last year. The documents were subsequently published by another member on February 28 to a Discord channel connected to the YouTuber "wow mao."
On March 4, a member of that channel submitted a few of them to the bigger channel "Minecraft Earth Map."
After spreading like wildfire via the internet, documents related to the Ukraine war began appearing on Russian Telegram channels last week, prompting a federal investigation into how and by whom the information were leaked.
Teixeira's mother, Dawn, revealed to the outlet that he is an active member who works out of a base in Cape Cod and has been taking more night shifts, and the FBI now wants to investigate him.
President Biden informed reporters in Ireland on Thursday morning that federal investigators were "near" to identifying the leaker.
Although they declined to give his name, members of Thug Shaker Central told the Times that the individual who leaked the information to their chat was their unquestioned leader and frequently referred to as the "OG."
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.