FBI arrests man for ‘criminal’ U.S. intelligence leaks

U.S. officials have not confirmed the authenticity of the documents, images of which have circulated on social media platforms for weeks

April 13, 2023 09:01 pm | Updated April 14, 2023 02:47 am IST - Washington

FBI agents arrest Jack Teixeira, an employee of the U.S. Air Force National Guard, in connection with an investigation into the leaks online of classified U.S. documents, outside a residence in this still image taken from video in North Dighton, Massachusetts, U.S., on April 13, 2023.

FBI agents arrest Jack Teixeira, an employee of the U.S. Air Force National Guard, in connection with an investigation into the leaks online of classified U.S. documents, outside a residence in this still image taken from video in North Dighton, Massachusetts, U.S., on April 13, 2023. | Photo Credit: Reuters

The FBI on Thursday arrested an employee of the U.S. Air Force National Guard over the leaks of highly sensitive U.S. government documents online that embarrassed Washington with allies around the world.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said the FBI arrested the man, Jack Teixeira, “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorised removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information.”

The FBI said its agents had made an arrest and were conducting “authorized law enforcement activity at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts.”

Video images played on news channels showed heavily armed officers in Massachusetts accompanying a young man wearing a gray t-shirt and bright red shorts into a waiting car. His head was bowed and his hair was close-cropped.

The leaks were a “deliberate, criminal act,” the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder referred questions about the investigation to the Department of Justice.

Some of the most sensitive leaked details are purportedly related to Ukraine’s military capabilities and shortcomings, and information about U.S. allies including Israel, South Korea and Turkey.

President Joe Biden earlier on Thursday said investigators were closing in on the source of the online leaks in what is believed to be the most serious security breach in years.

The New York Times earlier reported that Teixeira was a National Guardsman who led Thug Shaker Central, an online group where about 20 to 30 people shared their love of guns, racist memes and video games. The Times cited interviews and documents it reviewed.

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