Authorities Arrest Alleged Pentagon Leaker

April 13, 2023

Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed the arrest of a member of the Massachusetts National Air Guard in connection with dozens of leaked classified Pentagon documents that revealed U.S. spying on Russia’s military in Ukraine.

Today the Justice department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira in connection with an investigation into an alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information” Garland said during a brief announcement. “Teixeira is an employee of the United States Air Force National Guard. FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident. He will have an initial appearance in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts.”

Garland’s statement confirmer earlier reports that had identified the alleged leader as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, the leader of an online gaming chat group on the platform Discord, where the 100 or so documents and photos were posted.

The arrest came after an online friend of the alleged leaker shared details of him—without naming his proper name—to The Washington Post.

Furing Thursday’s daily Pentagon briefing, press secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said that because it was an ongoing investigation, he would have to refer reporters to the Department of Justice. That was about half an hour or so before Garland spoke. 

Ryder did brief reporters on steps taken to reduce access to classified material, saying, we continue 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.”

He added that it is important to understand that “we do have stringent guidelines in place for safeguarding classified and sensitive information. This was a deliberate criminal act, the violation of those guidelines.”

He said the Pentagon would continue to give classified access to people “who have a need to know,” adding that everyone who has access signs a non-disclosure agreement.

According to the Post’s source, the alleged leaker, who went by the handle “OG” among their small online chat group, claimed to have knowledge about U.S. government secrets. Using language that was filled with acronyms and jargon, the source told the Post that the alleged leaker claimed to have brought the documents home from his job at a “military base,” and that he had worked for hours to write up the classified documents to share with those in the Discord group to keep them “in the loop.”

Along with an investigation by the DOJ, Ryder said that the Pentagon was reviewing “the scope and impact” of the leaked documents, which reveal U.S. spying not just on Russia but also on allies, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

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