On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland provided an update regarding the arrest of a young Air National Guardsman suspected of disclosing highly classified Pentagon documents.
Authorities arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, earlier on Thursday in connection with the disclosure. Garland stated during a press conference that FBI agents arrested Teixeira without incident as part of their investigation into the “unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information.”
He added that Teixeira will make a first appearance in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Garland stated that approximately six FBI agents “pushed into a residence” in order to apprehend the suspect. Photos and videos posted on social media indicate that agents were in SWAT attire, heavily armed, and supported by a large number of law enforcement officers.
The FBI issued a statement confirming the arrest of a suspect and stating that agents are “continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts.”
“As this is an ongoing matter, we cannot provide further comment at this time,” the statement added.
“The guardsman, an IT specialist…was taken into custody without incident after FBI officers converged on his Massachusetts home. He is to be charged under a provision of the Espionage Act that makes it a crime to remove or transmit classified national defense information, Attorney General Merrick Garland said,” The Associated Press reported.
🚨#BREAKING: A Air National Guard member has been taken into custody due to a classified documents discord leak
Just moments ago Law enforcement and other Federal agents agencies have made an arrest and searched the home of a 21-year-old Jack… pic.twitter.com/cD6bo7EkYa
— R A W S A L E R T S (@rawsalerts) April 13, 2023
The AP reported that the leak will undoubtedly raise new concerns about the common practice of entrusting such low-ranking military personnel with highly classified information.
“We entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age. Think about a young combat platoon sergeant, and the responsibility and trust that we put into those individuals to lead troops into combat,” said Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman.
According to The New York Times, Teixeira was identified as the administrator of an online Discord server known as “Thug Shaker Central,” on which hundreds of classified photos were posted. A small group of similar individuals, including men and boys, comprised the server.
A member of the group who spoke with The Washington Post stated that “OG” had expressed antigovernment sentiments, but there is no evidence that he was endeavoring to aid a foreign power. In addition, the member suggested that the suspect may have been merely showing off by disclosing classified information.
“If you had classified documents, you’d want to flex at least a little bit, like ‘hey, I’m the big guy,’” one member said, later adding, “I would definitely not call him a whistleblower. I would not call OG a whistleblower in the slightest.”
According to reports, the leaked documents contained sensitive information about the battlefield situation in Ukraine, details on foreign adversary weaponry, assessments of U.S. intelligence penetration into the Russian military, intelligence on Egypt’s plans to sell arms to Russia, and other information.
According to the report, the leaker left behind several forensic clues that could be extremely useful in identifying the perpetrator by U.S. law enforcement.
CNN reported on Thursday that the FBI had reduced the number of suspects who could be responsible for the leak to a “small number” and was working to construct a prosecution case. President Joe Biden stated earlier in the week that US authorities were near to apprehending the leak’s perpetrator.
OG’s persistent disclosures of classified information eventually spread beyond the Discord server when, on February 28, one of its members began sharing the images with a Discord server affiliated with a YouTuber with nearly 250,000 subscribers. Several days later, on March 4, additional images began to surface on a distinct Minecraft-specific Discord server.
More on this story via Conservative Brief:
The leak was not detected by U.S. authorities until a month later, however, when classified documents started surfacing on Russian Telegram channels and 4chan, before eventually making their way to Twitter. CONTINUE READING…