In a shocking turn of events, the head of a Discord group responsible for leaking sensitive US intelligence documents has been identified as Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
The FBI on Thursday made a probable cause arrest in North Dighton, Massachusetts, in connection with the leaked documents probe.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Teixeira was taken into custody in relation to the investigation into “alleged authorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.”
Teixeira, 21, is a member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard. Around a half-dozen FBI agents on Thursday pushed onto the property where Teixeira makes his residence.
“FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident,” Garland said. “He will have an initial appearance at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.”
According to reports, investigators were keen on speaking with Teixeira to gather information relevant to the ongoing investigation. The New York Times was the first to report Teixeira’s identity on Thursday.
The trove of sensitive intelligence documents that were leaked on the Discord group has caused serious concerns about national security. The group responsible for the leak was previously unknown until now.
A racist troll forum led by Teixeira, 21, is at the center of the top secret Ukraine war documents leak.
He oversaw an online group called Thug Shaker Central where approximately 30 people – mostly young men and teens – shared a love of guns, racist memes and games.
Two US officials reportedly confirmed investigators want to talk to Teixeira about the leak.
Teixeira has not been officially named as a suspect.
He is enlisted in the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
President Joe Biden has vowed the US is “getting close” to finding answers about the leak.
The classified documents surfaced online last week and are believed to be one of the worst intelligence breaches in US history.
Sources say that investigators are closing in on Teixeira, and an arrest in the case could happen as soon as Thursday. The Wall Street Journal reported separately that law enforcement officials are making progress in the investigation and have identified several suspects.
The leak has caused a stir in Washington, with lawmakers from both parties demanding answers from the intelligence community about how such sensitive documents were able to be accessed and leaked. The leak has also raised concerns about the security of US intelligence agencies and their ability to protect sensitive information.
The investigation is ongoing, and more details are expected to emerge in the coming days. Teixeira’s connection to the Massachusetts Air National Guard has also raised questions about the security protocols in place at military installations across the country.
The classified documents were shared on Twitter and on Telegram.
They contained details of US and Nato plans to help Ukraine prepare ahead of a spring offensive against Russia and suggested China has secretly launched a 6,500mph hypersonic missile that could beat US defense systems.
The leak of the intel report claims Putin’s top generals are plotting to “throw” the war in Ukraine to undermine his leadership.
The incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of safeguarding sensitive information and the consequences that can arise when those protocols are breached.