WASHINGTON — Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested on Thursday as a suspect in the investigation into classified documents that were leaked on the internet.
Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed Teixeira was taken into federal custody “without incident” Thursday afternoon.
“Today, the Justice Department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information. Teixeira is an employee of the United States Air Force National Guard,” Garland said.
U.S. District Court for Massachusett said the FBI arrested Teixeira at his parent’s home in North Dighton, Massachusetts, which is located an hour away from the military base where he worked.
“The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence,” the statement said. “Since late last week the FBI has aggressively pursued investigative leads, and today’s arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country’s trust and put our national security at risk.”
The arrest came just hours after President Joe Biden said the U.S. government was “getting close” to identifying the person responsible when talking with reporters in Dublin.
“There’s a full-blown investigation going on, as you know,” he said. “The intelligence community and the Justice Department. And they’re getting close. I don’t have an answer for you.”
The Washington Post published a story on Wednesday night detailing the individual behind the leak worked on a military base and posted sensitive national security information in an online group. The Post described the person as “a lonely young man and gun enthusiast”.
According to military records, Teixeira had the rank of airman first class and has been in uniform since he entered the Air National Guard back in 2019.
The Defense Department found the documents online last month but how long they had been on the internet and the total number that have been posted remain unclear. Some of the documents included intelligence leaks such as assessments of allies and adversaries as well as intelligence documents intended for an exclusive circle of military leaders.