FBI arrests US air force reservist for intelligence leaks
Pentagon says suspect Jack Teixeira’s leaks were a ‘deliberate, criminal act’
Washington — The FBI on Thursday arrested a reservist of the US air force over the leaks online of classified US documents that embarrassed Washington with allies around the world.
US attorney-general Merrick Garland said the FBI arrested the man, Jack Teixeira, “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorised removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defence information”.
The FBI said its agents had made an arrest and were conducting “authorised law enforcement activity at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts”.
Video images played on news channels showed heavily armed officers in Massachusetts accompanying a young man wearing a grey T-shirt and bright red shorts into a waiting car. His head was bowed and his hair was close-cropped.
The leaks were a “deliberate, criminal act”, the Pentagon said. Pentagon spokesperson Brig-Gen Pat Ryder referred questions about the investigation to the department of justice.
Some of the most sensitive leaked details are purportedly related to Ukraine’s military capabilities and shortcomings, and information about US allies including Israel, South Korea and Turkey.
President Joe Biden earlier on Thursday said investigators were closing in on the source of the online leaks in what is believed to be the most serious security breach in years.
The New York Times earlier reported that Teixeira was a National Guardsman who led Thug Shaker Central, an online group where about 20 to 30 people shared their love of guns, racist memes and video games. The Times cited interviews and documents it reviewed.
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