Arrested Suspected Leaker Of Top-Secret US Intelligence Documents
A 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested Thursday afternoon in the investigation into the leak of hundreds of pages of classified military intelligence, Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a press conference.
Garland identified the individual, Jack Douglas Teixeira, as a member of the U.S. Air Force National Guard. He will have an initial court appearance at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
President Joe Biden said on Thursday that investigators were close to figuring out the source of the recent leak of highly classified U.S. intelligence documents.
While on a three-day tour of Ireland, Biden said he was not too concerned about the security breach, which may be the most serious leak in a decade.
“There’s a full-blown investigation going on, as you know, with the intelligence community and the Justice Department, and they’re getting close, but I don’t have an answer,” Biden told reporters. It was the first time the U.S. president has commented on the leak that came to prominence last week.
“I’m concerned that it happened, but there’s nothing contemporaneous that I’m aware of that is of great consequence,” said Biden, who is in Dublin meeting Irish leaders.
The New York Times reported Thursday that a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guardsman has been identified as the leader of an online gaming chat group where the cache of documents was posted.
Earlier, The Washington Post reported Wednesday that a member of a group on the social media platform Discord said another member who indicated he worked at a military base was the leaker.
Media outlets reported that the documents included information about Ukraine’s military and other intelligence matters. A Pentagon spokesman told reporters Monday that the collection presents a “very serious risk to national security.”
The Post said it interviewed a member of the Discord group and had details corroborated by another member of the group.
The report said that according to the group member, the leaker was not hostile toward the U.S. government, but spoke about the U.S. law enforcement and intelligence community as seeking to suppress citizens and keep information from them.
The group member said the leaker initially shared typewritten intelligence reports, but later changed to sharing photos of documents.
The report said the leaker stopped sharing those images in mid-March, a few weeks after another Discord group user posted several dozen of the documents on another Discord server, opening a path of wider dissemination.