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Feds arrest Nat’l Guardsman suspected leaker of classified US intelligence

FBI agents. (Melanie Rodgers Cox/US Air Force)
April 13, 2023

A 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard suspected of leaking classified U.S. intelligence documents has been arrested.

Armed federal agents stormed a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, Thursday afternoon and placed the suspect, Jack Teixeira, under arrest, the New York Times reported

A Times report earlier in the day was the first to name Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, as a suspected leaker behind classified U.S. intelligence documents that have been circulating online for months.

The documents contained classified intelligence about Russia’s war in Ukraine and revealed closely-held details of U.S. spycraft. Their existence came into the public eye only in recent days, triggering multiple investigations into how the documents spread over the internet.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland said Teixeira was arrested for the “unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information,” the Times reported. He is set to face charges under the Espionage Act.

In its investigation, the Times reportedly linked Teixeira to the documents by matching details in photos of his childhood home, such as the tiled floors and granite countertops, to background details in some of the photographs of classified documents.

The Times linked Teixeira to a small chat room called Thug Shaker Central on the chat service Discord. Multiple chatters in Thug Shaker Central told the Times that months ago another member, who they did not name, started sharing hundreds of pages of classified U.S. intelligence. 

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A 17-year-old who said they were friends with the leaker described them to the Times as “a Christian, anti-war, just wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on.”

A teenaged member of the chat room eventually shared some of the documents on a more public forum, where they caught the attention of news media, the Times reported.

This was a breaking news story. The details were periodically updated as more information became available.