Who is Jack Teixeira, the man arrested over the Pentagon files leak?

The FBI on Thursday arrested Jack Teixeira in connection with the leak of dozens of highly classified documents that, among other things, showed just how much the United States is able to conduct surveillance on Russia.

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FBI agents took Teixeira into custody Thursday afternoon “without incident,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said the Justice Department has been conducting a criminal investigation.

“Today, the Justice Department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information. Teixeira is an employee of the United States Air Force National Guard,” Garland said.

Teixeira was arrested in Massachusetts and is expected to be in a courtroom on Friday to hear the charges against him.

Who is Teixeira? Here is what we know about him now:

  • He is 21.
  • He was arrested in North Dighton, Massachusetts, where he grew up.
  • His stepfather retired from the Air Force after 34 years of service.
  • He joined the Air National Guard in September 2019, was promoted to Airman 1st Class in July, and held the highest level security clearance granted by the federal government for top secret information, according to an internal Department of Defense email.
  • Teixeira was stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base as a member of the 102nd Intelligence Wing where he worked as an IT specialist. Otis is located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • He allegedly began to share classified documents he had access to with an invitation-only gaming chat group, Thug Shaker Central, on the social network Discord. He is known in the chatroom as “OG.”
  • At first, he typed verbatim transcripts to post, then he began leaking actual documents. It appeared, according to The New York Times, that the documents had been physically removed from where they were stored and photographed.
  • The members included people from Russia and Ukraine and a number of other countries in Europe, Asia and South America, the Post reported.
  • They reportedly watched films together, talked about their favorite guns, and talked about the war in Ukraine. The Associated Press reports that the members also prayed together.
  • “This guy was a Christian, anti-war, just wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on,” said one member of the group. “We have some people in our group who are in Ukraine. We like fighting games, we like war games.”
  • The Washington Post said they were shown videos from a member of the group of Teixeira shouting racist and antisemitic slurs before firing a rifle.
  • According to the Post, OG told other members he brought the documents home from a “military base” where he sometimes worked in a secure facility that prohibited mobile phones and other electronic devices.
  • The material was first shared with the group but then the leaked material became known after another member shared them in a public forum.
  • The leaked information concerned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine but also include intelligence on China, the Middle East, Israel’s spy agency Mossad and world leaders, according to the Post.
  • The classified documents from the Defense Department were found online last month, though how long they had been posted on the internet is unclear.
  • Eoghan Macguire, a researcher and editor who helped break the story at Bellingcat, told NBC that the documents were passed around three separate Discord servers before they were broadly made public on the extremist site 4chan.