Guardsman arrested in connection with leak of classified documents

Police near the home of Jack Teixeira.
(Image credit: AP Photo/Steven Senne)

A 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested on Thursday afternoon as part of the investigation into a leak of classified U.S. intelligence documents.

The individual, identified as Jack Teixeira of Dighton, Massachusetts, is a member of the guard's intelligence wing, The New York Times reports. He had a junior role, but could access the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System, a computer network for top-secret information, a U.S. official with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post.

Investigators said the leaked documents — which included classified material on the war in Ukraine, Russia, and Israel's foreign intelligence service Mossad — were first shared with members of a Discord group named Thug Shaker Central. Teixeira oversaw this group, which started in 2020 and had between 20 and 30 members, mostly young men and teenage boys who are "united by their mutual love of guns, military gear, and God," the Post reports.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Hundreds of documents were uploaded to the group, authorities said, and members of Thug Shaker Central told the Times that the material was supposed to stay in their small Discord group; the documents gained widespread attention when a member posted them to a public online forum.

When announcing Teixeira's arrest, Attorney General Merrick Garland said he was detained "without incident" for "alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information." A Justice Department official told the Times that Teixeira is expected to be arraigned in federal court in Boston on Friday.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.