Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested by FBI agents at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts on Thursday. The arrest was made in relation to a collection of classified documents that had been leaked online over the past few months. The FBI had been following a lead online over the last few days.
Teixeira, who joined the Air National Guard in September 2019, held the highest-level security clearance granted by the federal government for top secret information, according to an internal Department of Defense email reviewed by Fox News.
Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder called the it “a deliberate criminal act” saying “we entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age.” Teixeira’s age has sparked concerns regarding the internal security protocols of our military, and the extent of access granted to confidential resources.
Teixeira was in charge of a private Discord group called Thug Shaker Central.
Discord is a communication platform that is primarily designed for gamers, but can be used by anyone for online communication. It allows users to create servers or groups where they can communicate with others via voice, video, or text chat. The platform includes features such as private messaging and file sharing.
BREAKING: Sky 5 was overhead as federal agents swarmed a Mass. home and detained a man amid the probe into leaked classified documents about the Ukraine war. https://t.co/5FCrFgz3QZ pic.twitter.com/cwdp4yWJLK
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) April 13, 2023
According to the New York The Times:
[They] spoke with four members of Thug Shaker Central, one of whom said he had known the person who leaked for at least three years, had met him in person and referred to him as the O.G. The friends described him as older than most of the group members, who were in their teens, and the undisputed leader. One of the friends said the O.G. had access to intelligence documents through his job…
Members of Thug Shaker Central who spoke to The Times said that the documents they discussed online were meant to be purely informative. While many pertained to the war in Ukraine, the members said they took no side in the conflict.
The leak was initially shared on Discord in early March. The documents also appeared on other social media sites such as Twitter, and 4chan.
According to recent reports, the Russian channels widely circulated an edited image of the leak that reduced the number of Russian troops killed while inflating the number of Ukrainian losses. Initially, the documents were shared on pro-Kremlin Telegram channels that focused largely on their content rather than their authenticity.
However, some prominent channels and media outlets suggested that the documents might be partly fake, and an expert quoted by the ultranationalist news website Regnum even suggested that the leak was deliberate and aimed at providing a smokescreen for the coming Ukrainian counter-offensive.
In Ukraine, questions about the documents’ authenticity have also been raised, with some commentators accusing Russia of planting fake documents ahead of the counter-offensive. While many poor-quality screenshots of the documents are still circulating on Twitter, Telegram, and Reddit, the originals are much harder to find, as many have disappeared from the chats where they first emerged.
Some users who previously shared screenshots of the documents on Discord have deleted their social media profiles or tried to get rid of all the copies they had on their phones, adding to the paranoia surrounding the leaked documents.