- The suspected Pentagon leaker was arrested Tuesday by federal agents in Dighton, Massachusetts.
- Merrick Garland identified the leaker as Jack Teixeira, 21, a guardsman specializing in intelligence.
- Teixeira allegedly shared highly classified documents about the Ukraine war online.
Police block a road in Dighton, Massachusetts, where federal agents reportedly arrested the suspected Pentagon leaker.
(AP Photo/Michelle R. Smith)
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Massachusetts Air National Guard member who has emerged as a main person of interest in the disclosure of highly classified military documents on the Ukraine war was taken into custody Thursday by federal agents, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced.
Investigators believe that the guardsman, who specializes in intelligence, led the online chat group where the documents were posted. Garland identified the guardsman as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, and said he would be charged with the unauthorized removal of classified national defense information.
FBI agents converged Thursday at Teixeira’s Massachusetts home and heavily armed tactical agents took Teixeira, who was wearing a T-shirt and shorts, into custody outside the property, “without incident,” Garland said.
He was charged with unauthorized removal of classified national defense information, Garland said.
It was not immediately clear if Teixeira had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf, and a phone message left at a number believed to belong to his mother was not immediately returned.
Law enforcement officials roped off the street near the home. The New York Times, which first identified Teixeira on Thursday, said that a man who had been standing outside the Teixeira home earlier said that “he needs to get an attorney if things are flowing the way they are going right now. The Feds will be around soon, I’m sure.”
The emergence of Teixeira as the apparent primary suspect is bound to raise questions about how the highest-profile intelligence leak in years, one that continues to unfold with almost daily revelations of highly classified documents, could have been caused by such a young, low-ranking service member.
The Biden administration has scrambled for days to contain the fallout from the leaked information, which has publicized potential vulnerabilities in Ukraine’s air defense capabilities and exposed private assessments by allies on an array of intelligence matters.
The National Guard did not confirm his identity but said in a statement that, “We are aware of the investigation into the alleged role a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman may have played in the recent leak of highly-classified documents.”
Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon spokesman, referred all questions about the case to the Justice Department. But he said: “We have rules in place. Each of us signs a nondisclosure agreement. This is a criminal act, a willful violation of those.”