What We Know About Jack Teixeira, Accused of Involvement in Classified Documents Leak

The 21-year-old intelligence specialist did not enter a plea in his initial appearance in federal court in Boston on Friday.

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the U.S. National Guard, was charged Friday with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and willful retention of classified documents in connection with the alleged leaking of highly classified information on the war in Ukraine.

In his initial court appearance in federal court in Boston, Teixeira, wearing handcuffs and a khaki prison jumpsuit, did not enter a plea. He was ordered detained pending a detention hearing set for April 19.

Teixeira, an airman first class with the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, based on Cape Cod, was taken into custody Thursday by federal agents in Dighton, Mass., about 15 miles east of Providence, R.I., and 45 miles south of Boston.

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the arrest in a brief statement at the Justice Department, adding that Teixeira surrendered “without incident.”

FBI agents arrest Jack Teixeira outside a residence in North Dighton, Mass., on Thursday, in this still image taken from video. (WCVB-TV via ABC via Reuters)

Footage from a local television news helicopter showed heavily armed tactical agents taking Teixeira, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts, into custody along a wooded driveway.

The Pentagon and FBI had been scrambling to identify the source of the leak since Friday, when a trove of U.S. Defense Department slides, many marked “Secret” or “Top Secret,” were posted to a private chat group on the Discord platform.

As Yahoo News reported earlier this week, the documents included “intelligence culled from a host of spy agencies — the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Reconnaissance Office and more — with a limitless purview reaching all regions of the globe.”

Speaking to reporters in Dublin earlier Thursday, President Biden said that the United States was closing in on identifying a suspect.

“There’s a full-blown investigation going on, as you know, with the intelligence community and the Justice Department,” Biden said. “And they’re getting close.”

In a statement to the Associated Press, Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said: “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.”

Pentagon spokesman U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, in uniform, takes questions about the leak investigation during a press briefing in Washington, D.C.

According to the New York Times, which first identified Teixeira as a suspect, he oversaw the private online group on the Discord site called Thug Shaker Central, where “about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers, came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes and video games.”

The newspaper also spoke with Teixeira’s mother, who said he had recently been working overnight shifts at the base on Cape Cod, and he had recently changed his phone number.

The Military Times reported that Teixeira joined the Air National Guard in September 2019 and that he works as a cyber transport systems journeyman.

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