Federal authorities arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old airman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, on Thursday for his alleged involvement in the unauthorized release of dozens of classified documents containing sensitive U.S. defense and intelligence information. He was taken into custody without incident.
The FBI is continuing its investigation and has conducted authorized law enforcement activities at his residence.
President Biden was briefed on the arrest while visiting Ireland. Defense Secretary Austin praised the quick apprehension, emphasizing the legal and moral obligations of individuals with access to classified information to protect and report any suspicious activities.
The Pentagon’s press secretary, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, referred to the disclosures as “a deliberate criminal act” but declined further comment, citing the ongoing law enforcement investigation.
The leaked documents first appeared in a small online community on the platform Discord before spreading to other platforms, such as 4chan, Twitter, and Russian Telegram channels.
The person who initially shared the documents, allegedly worked on a military base. They did not intend for the documents to be distributed beyond the two dozen users in the Discord community.
The disclosed documents offer a rare glimpse into the U.S. support of the Ukrainian government, as well as the extent to which U.S. intelligence agencies have accessed Russian communication channels to aid Ukrainian forces. They also reveal the U.S. closely monitoring its allies, including conversations between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his top military official. Additionally, the documents included concerns expressed by South Korea’s leaders about sending ammunition to Ukraine.
U.S. officials have cautioned that some documents may have been altered, while others match similar documents distributed to military planners. The leak has drawn comparisons to previous intelligence breaches, such as Chelsea Manning’s disclosure to WikiLeaks in 2010 and Edward Snowden’s 2013 leak of National Security Agency documents.
Military leaders are working to manage the fallout from the revelations about U.S. surveillance activities, with Defense Secretary Austin discussing the matter with NATO, South Korea, the UK, Germany, and Ukraine.