The FBI on Thursday made a probable cause arrest in North Dighton, Massachusetts, in connection with the leaked documents probe.
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Jack Teixeira was taken into custody in relation to the investigation into “alleged authorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.”
Teixeira, 21, is a member of the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard.
“FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident,” the attorney general said. “He will have an initial appearance at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.” [Continue reading…]
The man behind a massive leak of U.S. government secrets that has exposed spying on allies, revealed the grim prospects for Ukraine’s war with Russia and ignited diplomatic fires for the White House is a young, charismatic gun enthusiast who shared highly classified documents with a group of far-flung acquaintances searching for companionship amid the isolation of the pandemic.
United by their mutual love of guns, military gear and God, the group of roughly two dozen — mostly men and boys — formed an invitation-only clubhouse in 2020 on Discord, an online platform popular with gamers. But they paid little attention last year when the man some call “OG” posted a message laden with strange acronyms and jargon. The words were unfamiliar, and few people read the long note, one of the members explained. But he revered OG, the elder leader of their tiny tribe, who claimed to know secrets that the government withheld from ordinary people.
The young member read OG’s message closely, and the hundreds more that he said followed on a regular basis for months. They were, he recalled, what appeared to be near-verbatim transcripts of classified intelligence documents that OG indicated he had brought home from his job on a “military base,” which the member declined to identify. OG claimed he spent at least some of his day inside a secure facility that prohibited cellphones and other electronic devices, which could be used to document the secret information housed on government computer networks or spooling out from printers. He annotated some of the hand-typed documents, the member said, translating arcane intel-speak for the uninitiated, such as explaining that “NOFORN” meant the information in the document was so sensitive it must not be shared with foreign nationals.
OG told the group he toiled for hours writing up the classified documents to share with his companions in the Discord server he controlled. The gathering spot had been a pandemic refuge, particularly for teen gamers locked in their houses and cut off from their real-world friends. The members swapped memes, offensive jokes and idle chitchat. They watched movies together, joked around and prayed. But OG also lectured them about world affairs and secretive government operations. He wanted to “keep us in the loop,” the member said, and seemed to think that his insider knowledge would offer the others protection from the troubled world around them.
“He’s a smart person. He knew what he was doing when he posted these documents, of course. These weren’t accidental leaks of any kind,” the member said. [Continue reading…]