Pentagon leak suspect Jack Teixeira appears in court as US reveals case against him

The eight-page court affidavit details several steps in the FBI investigation, including an interview Monday with a Discord user familiar with Teixeira’s online posts. The document does not identify the person or say how he or she was located. But the source told the FBI that a username linked to Teixeira began posting what appeared to be classified information roughly in December in an online chat that the user said was meant for the discussion of geopolitical affairs and past and current wars.


The person provided the FBI with basic identifying information about Teixeira, including that he called himself “Jack,” claimed to be part of the Air National Guard and appeared to live in Massachusetts, according to the affidavit.

Billing records the FBI subsequently obtained from Discord, which has said it was cooperating with the bureau, helped lead investigators to Teixeira, according to the FBI affidavit.

The person also told the FBI that Teixeira switched from typing out documents in his possession to taking them home and photographing them because he “had become concerned that he may be discovered making the transcriptions of text in the workplace”.

That’s different from what posters have told The Associated Press and other media outlets, saying the user they would call “the O.G.” started posting images of documents because he was annoyed other users weren’t taking him seriously.

Known as Thug Shaker Central, the group drew roughly two dozen enthusiasts who talked about their favourite types of guns and also shared memes and jokes. The group also held a running discussion on wars that included talk of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Jack Teixeira’s family members leave the Moakley Federal Courthouse

Jack Teixeira’s family members leave the Moakley Federal CourthouseCredit: AP

The affidavit also alleges Teixeira was detected on April 6 – the day The New York Times first published a story about the breach of documents – searching for the word “leak” in a classified system. The FBI says that was reason to believe Teixeira was trying to find information about the investigation into who was responsible for the leaks.

The Justice Department has not alleged a particular motive. Accounts of those in the online private chat group where the documents were disclosed have depicted Teixeira as motivated more by bravado than ideology.

His court appearance on Friday was brief. He entered the room in tan jail clothes and sat at the defence table next to his lawyer. At the end, a man who appeared to be a family member in the front row told Teixeira he loved him and the defendant responded “I love you, too”. His lawyer did not return a message seeking comment.

The Biden administration has scrambled to contain the potential diplomatic and military fallout from the leaks since they were first reported, moving to reassure allies and assess the scope of damage.

This image made from video provided by WCVB-TV, shows Jack Teixeira, in T-shirt and shorts, being taken into custody.

This image made from video provided by WCVB-TV, shows Jack Teixeira, in T-shirt and shorts, being taken into custody.Credit: AP

The classified documents — which have not been individually authenticated in public by US officials — range from briefing slides mapping out Ukrainian military positions to assessments of international support for Ukraine and other sensitive topics, including under what circumstances Russian President Vladimir Putin might use nuclear weapons.

Classified documents have strict guidelines on how they must be handled, secured and destroyed. They are required to be kept in secure facilities, protocols Teixeira would have violated if copies were taken to his house.

It’s still not known how Teixeira, an information technology specialist, allegedly obtained the documents, or what safeguards had been in place. The FBI said that he has held a top secret security clearance since 2021 with access to highly classified programs.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, in a statement issued after the arrest, said the Pentagon would conduct a review of its “intelligence access, accountability and control procedures” to prevent such a leak from happening again.

At the Justice Department, Garland noted government officials and others who have clearance to review classified documents sign agreements that “acknowledge the importance to national security of not disclosing those documents”.

“We intend to send that message: how important it is to our national security,” he said.


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