A trove of classified U.S. intelligence documents were disseminated online, and media sources on Thursday identified the origin. The suspected leaker is a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman, and he apparently shared hundreds of documents with friends.
Experts say the leak is the most destructive to the U.S. in at least a decade. The materials included details of U.S. actions in the Russia-Ukraine war, intelligence gathering on allies and negative observances on peace talks.
It is unclear how the suspect, 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, had access to the documents. The New York Times identified him as a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
Just prior to the Times’ revelation, the Washington Post disclosed the leaks originated from a man on a military base sharing them with friends on a Discord server.
Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, is expected to make his initial appearance in court on Friday to face charges related to the leaking of hundreds of classified documents on Discord.
Follow updates. https://t.co/SYwND5x3gk
— The New York Times (@nytimes) April 14, 2023
The materials were then shared elsewhere and have subsequently caused hardships between the U.S. and important allies.
The Associated Press reported that Teixeira was arrested Thursday in connection with the security breach. The FBI descended on his Massachusetts home and arrested him without incident. He is charged with several crimes under the Espionage Act.
Just before the Times revealed the suspect’s identity, President Joe Biden addressed the situation while in Ireland. He said there was a “full-blown investigation” being conducted with the Justice Department and intelligence community.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the White House is enacting measures to block access to sensitive information.
Some of the information the alleged leaker, known online as “OG,” shared with friends included that 14 American service members are on the ground in Ukraine as the country’s war rages with Russia. It also exposed U.S. spying on Ukraine, Israel, and South Korea.
All are considered allies.
Fox News further reported that the alleged leaker shared the documents to boast among online friends. Some of those were foreign nationals, including citizens of Ukraine and Russia.
The outlet said “OG” originally wrote out the posts from the intelligence documents but soon tired of this process. He then reportedly shifted to taking pictures of the classified documents and sharing them online.
It’s early in the investigation, but many accounts of those in the online chat group point towards ego and bravado for the alleged leaker’s motivation rather than ideology.