F.B.I. arrests national guardsman in leak of classified documents
Baku, April 14, AZERTAC
The F.B.I. arrested a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard on Thursday in connection with the leak of dozens of highly classified documents containing an array of national security secrets, including the breadth of surveillance the United States is able to conduct on Russia, NYTIMES reported.
Airman First Class Jack Douglas Teixeira was taken into custody to face charges of leaking classified documents after federal authorities said he had posted batches of sensitive intelligence to an online gaming chat group, called Thug Shaker Central.
As reporters from The New York Times gathered near the house on Thursday afternoon, about a half-dozen F.B.I. agents pushed into the home of Airman Teixeira’s mother in North Dighton, with a twin-engine government surveillance plane keeping watch overhead.
Some of the agents arrived heavily armed. Law enforcement officials learned before the search that Airman Teixeira was in possession of multiple weapons, according to a person familiar with the investigation, and the F.B.I. found guns at the house.
In Washington, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, in a brief statement, announced the arrest and said Airman Teixeira would be arraigned at the Federal District Court in Massachusetts. Mr. Garland said he was arrested in connection with the “unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information,” a reference to the Espionage Act, which is used to prosecute the mishandling and theft of sensitive intelligence.
The arrest raised questions about why such a junior enlisted airman had access to such an array of potentially damaging secrets, why adequate safeguards had not been put in place after earlier leaks and why a young man would risk his freedom to share intelligence about the war in Ukraine with a group of friends he knew from a video game social media site.
A motive in the case for now remains elusive. But, according to people who knew him online, Airman Teixeira was no whistle-blower. Unlike previous huge leaks of information, from the Pentagon Papers to WikiLeaks to Edward Snowden’s disclosures, outrage about wrongdoing or government policies does not appear to have been a factor.
Indeed, the disclosures were potentially damaging to all parties in the Ukraine war as well as future intelligence collection. While some officials, including President Biden, have downplayed the damage from the leak, it will take months to learn whether U.S. intelligence loses access to important methods of collection because of the disclosures.
The F.B.I. had been zeroing in on Airman Teixeira for several days, tracking its own investigative clues as well as some of the same information that The Times and The Washington Post had developed about the Discord group where he had shared the documents, officials said.
Still, as reporters uncovered more information, law enforcement officials had to speed up their investigation.
While federal investigators believed that Airman Teixeira could pose a danger to agents conducting the search, his online friends knew him as a sometimes hectoring leader of their small community.
Several months ago, a user of Thug Shaker Central known as O.G. began uploading hundreds of pages of intelligence briefings into the small chat group. The group also discussed guns and military equipment, as well as the original subject of their group, video games.
Text contains orthographic mistake
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