Young Airman Arrested Over Classified US Military Documents Leak
FBI arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21 year old airman in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, in connection with the leaking of highly classified U.S. government and military documents.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that FBI agents took Teixeira into custody at his residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, Thursday afternoon “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.”
He told reporters that Teixeira will be arraigned in federal court in Boston, Massachusetts on Friday.
He commended the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for their swift arrest in connection with this investigation.
The U.S. police and intelligence communities have been searching in full swing to identify the person who posted classified documents to a social media platform popular with video gamers.
Teixeira has been identified as the leader of the online chat group where the documents first emerged.
Dozens of leaked documents revealed US assessments of the war in Ukraine as well as sensitive secrets about U.S. allies.
Separately, speaking in the Pentagon briefing room, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said the U.S. government is taking the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive information very seriously and is working with interagency partners and the intelligence community “to better understand the scope, scale and impact of these leaks.”
Ryder said DOD officials continue to review a variety of factors in an effort to safeguard classified materials. DOD already has stringent guidelines in place for safeguarding classified and sensitive information. “This was a deliberate criminal act, a violation of those guidelines,” he said.
The top DOD official warned that even though these documents may be in the media, service members and Defense employees must not read or download them.
Ryder made it clear that just because classified information may be posted online or elsewhere does not mean it has been declassified by a classification authority.
He cautioned those who are reporting this story to take these latter factors into account, and to consider the potential consequences of posting potentially sensitive documents or information online or elsewhere.”
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he will not hesitate to take any additional measures necessary to safeguard the nation’s secrets.
He directed the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security to conduct a review of intelligence access, accountability and control procedures within the Department “to inform our efforts to prevent this kind of incident from happening again”.
He reminded that every U.S. service member, DoD civilian and contractor with access to classified information has a solemn legal and moral obligation to safeguard it and to report any suspicious activity or behavior.
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