Air National Guard Member Arrested For Leaking Information Regarding The Pentagon
The US authorities conducted a quick search to identify the leaker who uploaded secret papers to a social media site that is well-liked by video gamers before making the arrest of Jack Teixeira, 21.
According to Garland, Teixeira was lawfully taken into custody in Massachusetts and will be charged in that state’s federal court.
“This investigation is ongoing. We will share more information at the appropriate time,” The attorney general spoke without taking questions.
According to Boston’s US attorney’s office, Teixeira will make his court debut on Friday.
The FBI said in a statement that it took Teixeira into custody “at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, for his alleged involvement in leaking classified U.S. government and military documents.”
“The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence,” the agency said.
“Since late last week the FBI has aggressively pursued investigative leads, and today’s arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country’s trust and put our national security at risk.”
In-depth intelligence assessments of allies and foes were included in the leaked documents shared on social media, some of which CNN was able to receive. These evaluations included information on the condition of the conflict in Ukraine and the difficulties Moscow and Kyiv are facing as it seems to be at a standstill.
According to multiple US officials who spoke to CNN, Teixeira is reportedly the group’s leader. The group is where a large number of secret papers were shared.
Investigators were able to quickly narrow the search to potential members of the chat group thanks to evidence gathered in the days after US officials discovered classified documents online. The search for the suspect initially included thousands of people who had access to the papers.
Despite the fact that many people had access to the papers, investigators could focus on a small group for closer examination because of the forensic trial the person who posted the documents was left behind.
According to a US government source familiar with the investigation, the FBI detained Teixeira on Thursday after at least a few days of observation.
President Joe Biden appeared to imply earlier Thursday that the US administration was close to finding the leaker.
According to a US official, Biden received a briefing on the arrest between his speech to parliament and his departure for a banquet supper in his honor at Dublin Castle. Between the two events, he spent about 90 minutes at the hotel.
According to one of the people, Biden has received regular updates on the inquiry and the attempts of his senior aides to communicate with allies who have been identified in or disturbed by the information that has leaked. One insider admitted that it was a fact that hung over a deeply personal and significant international trip for Biden.
Joined Air National Guard In 2019
Teixeira, an Airman First Class, had his service information made public by the Air Force.
According to information from Teixeira’s service record made available by the Air Force on Thursday, he is an enlisted airman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard. He enlisted in the service in September 2019 and is currently a journeyman in cyber transport systems.
According to the Air Force, specialists in Cyber Transport Systems are responsible for ensuring that the service’s “vast, global communications network” is “operating properly.”
The leaker reportedly worked on a military facility and shared critical information about national security with an online group of acquaintances, according to an article published on Wednesday by The Washington Post.
According to a friend of the alleged leaker the Post spoke with who was also a member of the group, the leaker was described in the Post story as a lonesome young man and gun enthusiast who was part of a chatroom of about two dozen people in Discord, a social media platform popular with video gamers, that shared a love of guns and military equipment.
Teixeira had a passion for the military, weapons, and war, according to a number of his former high school friends who spoke with CNN on Thursday. He carried a “dictionary-sized book on guns,” occasionally wore camouflage to school, and displayed behavior concerning several classmates.
“A lot of people were wary of him,” said Brooke Cleathero, who shared Teixeira’s high school and middle school years. “He was more of a loner, and having a fascination with war and guns made him off-putting to a lot of people.”
John Powell, who went to middle and high school with Teixeira, described him as a friendly and quiet young man who occasionally faced bullying. He claimed, “He didn’t have many friends.”
Public records indicate that Teixeira was raised in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island. According to the regional school district’s superintendent, he went to Dighton-Rehoboth High School and graduated in 2020.
Powell recalls Teixeira having an interest in everything “military-related” from a young age and occasionally carrying around a textbook on military vehicles, such as tanks, jets, and submarines.
“He was dead set on joining some branch of the military, even as a kid,” he said.
Other students, who preferred to remain anonymous, claimed Teixeira gave off a more threatening vibe. Some recalled Teixeira making remarks they thought racist or murmuring disparaging comments about people under his breath.
The day after a large-scale shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, a student recalls arriving at school wearing a shirt with an AR-15 on it.
Another former classmate claimed that Teixeira’s actions didn’t get to the point where “people felt the need to report him,” but “he made me nervous.”
The same student claimed she mistook his interest in the military for an expression of American nationalism and was shocked by the accusations made against him. She said, “I didn’t imagine he could do something like this.
On Thursday, Biden said he was more worried about the fact that the leaks had occurred than their specific contents.
“I’m not concerned about the leak. I’m concerned that it happened, but there’s nothing contemporaneous that I’m aware of that is of any consequence.”
Pentagon Tightening Access To Classified Intelligence
Following the leak, the Pentagon has started to restrict who within the government is given access to its highly classified daily intelligence briefs.
As the Pentagon’s Joint Staff continues to trim its distribution lists, certain US officials who used to receive the briefing materials regularly have ceased receiving them recently, sources familiar with the situation told CNN.
The Joint Staff of the Defense Department’s highest-ranking uniformed leadership that advises the president, started reviewing its distribution lists when it was made aware of the massive leak of classified information.
Many documents had markings indicating the Joint Staff’s intelligence division, the J2, had produced them.
Following the arrest of the Air National Guardsman, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced on Thursday that he had instructed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to evaluate intelligence access.
“As Secretary of Defense, I will also not hesitate to take any additional measures necessary to safeguard our nation’s secrets,” Austin said.
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“Accordingly, I am directing the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to conduct a review of our intelligence access, accountability and control procedures within the Department to inform our efforts to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.”
Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder, a spokesman for the Pentagon, acknowledged on Thursday that the Defense Department is taking steps to limit who has access to secret information.
Ryder said the Pentagon continues “to review a variety of factors as it relates to safeguarding classified materials. This includes examining and updating distribution lists, assessing how and where intelligence products are shared, and a variety of other steps.”
Ryder also stressed that “stringent guidelines” are already in place to protect classified information.
“This was a deliberate criminal act,” he said, “a violation of those guidelines.”
The FBI’s Washington field office is in charge of the criminal investigation, together with a group of counterintelligence officers skilled at finding leaks.
Those investigators also assess the damage with Pentagon authorities, which will be used as evidence in any subsequent prosecution.