Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Massachusetts Air National Guard member, has been accused of violating the Espionage Act by retaining and transmitting national defense information without authorization and removing classified information and defense materials without authorization. Teixeira is accused of leaking classified Pentagon documents on social media. The FBI arrested him on Thursday in North Dighton, Massachusetts. On Friday, Teixeira appeared in federal court in Boston for the first time since his arrest.
Accused of leaking classified Pentagon documents on social media, the suspect is now charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information & unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials under the Espionage Act.#PentagonLeak pic.twitter.com/0KDrfRzxOk
— News Live (@NewsLiveFree) April 15, 2023
The FBI arrested Teixeira in North Dighton, Massachusetts, on Thursday, a week after the disclosure that the classified material had been posted on Discord, a social media platform popular among gamers. As per the charging documents, Teixeira, who possessed a top-secret security clearance, began sharing information about the classified Pentagon documents on social media platforms in December 2022 and shared photos of the documents in January. The leaked documents, which included compassionate information, such as eavesdropping on allies and adversaries and assessments on the state of the Ukraine conflict, have been reviewed by CNN.
Sources have informed CNN that Teixeira is suspected to be the leader of an exclusive and undisclosed Discord chatroom named “Thug Shaker Central,” where the leaked classified information was first shared several months ago. During his first court appearance on Friday, Magistrate Judge David Hennessy apprised Teixeira of the charges against him and set a detention hearing for Wednesday. Teixeira will remain in custody until the hearing, and he has not yet entered a plea in response to the charges.
Airman with Top Secret clearance charged in Pentagon documents leak case
An affidavit unsealed on Friday revealed that Jack Teixeira had held a Top Secret clearance since 2021 and had access to other highly classified programs through sensitive compartmented access (SCI). The affidavit stated that at least one of the documents that Teixeira is accused of leaking was accessible because of his employment with the Air National Guard. Many documents he allegedly posted on Discord, an online server, were marked Top Secret.
One of the documents that Teixeira allegedly leaked was accessible to him through his employment with the Air National Guard, as per the unsealed affidavit. A person who used the Discord platform, which was used to disseminate the classified information, stated to the FBI that Teixeira started posting information on the platform in December 2022 and began sharing images of the documents in January 2023, according to the same affidavit.
Per the FBI affidavit, an individual whose identity has not been disclosed told investigators that Teixeira shared his worries about transcribing the documents at work, which led him to photograph them at his residence and photograph them. The affidavit also revealed that on April 6, when news of the leak began to surface, Teixeira searched for the word “leak” in a classified government database.