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FBI arrests 21-year-old Air Force guardsman in Pentagon leak case

cnn.com | April 14th, 2023

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Suspected Leaker
A member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, Jack Teixeira, was arrested by the FBI for leaking classified US government and military documents on social media. He will be arraigned in federal court and the investigation is ongoing. Multiple US officials believe Teixeira is the leader of the chat group where the documents were posted. The suspected leaker, an Airman 1st Class, had a fascination with guns and military gear. The Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified documents had a fascination with the military from an early age, but also reportedly made racist comments.

US Officials Notified
US officials informed Biden of the imminent arrest of the suspected leaker during his foreign trip to Europe.

Pentagon’s Response
The Pentagon has limited who gets access to its daily intelligence briefs due to the leak. The Defense Secretary has ordered a review. The Pentagon is tightening its intelligence access and control procedures following the leaking of classified information to a media outlet. They are conducting a review to prevent similar incidents and the FBI is leading a criminal investigation. Discord is cooperating with the FBI.

Detailed Notes

Member of Massachusetts Air National Guard arrested for leaking classified documents

•Jack Teixeira, 21, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested by the FBI for leaking classified documents that were posted online.

•Teixeira was arrested in Massachusetts without incident and will be arraigned in federal court there.

•The leaked documents included intelligence assessments of allies and adversaries, particularly about the state of war in Ukraine.

•Teixeira is believed to be the leader of the group where the classified documents were posted.

•The FBI was able to narrow down their search of potential suspects, thanks to the forensic trail left by the person who posted the documents.

•Teixeira was under surveillance for a couple of days before his arrest.

Updates on the US national security leaker

•President Biden was briefed on the arrest of the national security leaker during his trip to Dublin Castle.

•The president has been regularly updated on the investigation and efforts to engage allies unnerved by the leaked information.

•The Air Force released service details for the accused, Teixeira, who works as a Cyber Transport Systems specialist.

•The leaker, described as a young gun enthusiast, posted sensitive national security secrets in a Discord chatroom of about two dozen gamers who shared his interest.

•Teixeira’s former classmates said he had a fascination with guns and war, wore camouflage to school, and behaved in a way that made some feel uneasy.

•Teixeira grew up in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, according to public records.

Profile of Accused Air Force National Guardsman

•Teixeira attended Dighton-Rehoboth High School and graduated in 2020.

•He was interested in military vehicles and had a fascination with anything “military related” from an early age.

•Some students felt a menacing vibe from Teixeira, who reportedly made racist comments and derogatory remarks about people.

•One former classmate recalled him wearing a shirt with an AR-15 on it the day after a mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.

•Biden expressed concern about the leak of classified documents but not their content.

•Following the leak, the Pentagon has limited who receives its highly classified daily intelligence briefs as the Joint Staff examines its distribution lists.

•Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin is directing the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to review intelligence access.

Defense Department takes steps to prevent incidents like classified information leak

•Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder confirmed Thursday that the Defense Department is taking steps to tighten the community of people who receive classified intelligence.

•The UnderSecretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security is conducting a review of the department’s intelligence access, accountability, and control procedures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

•The Pentagon is reviewing the safeguarding of classified materials, including distribution lists, and assessing how and where intelligence products are shared.

•Ryder emphasized that stringent guidelines are already in place to safeguard classified intelligence, and the leak was a deliberate criminal act and a violation of those guidelines.

•FBI’s Washington field office is leading the criminal investigation and counterintelligence investigators are experienced in hunting leaks.

•Discord, the platform used by the leaker, is cooperating with officials.

•The damage assessment being carried out by the Pentagon officials will be used as evidence in any potential prosecution that results.

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