They identified the guardsman as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira of Swansea, Massachusetts. A member of Discord group that formed during Covid.
The FBI has arrested a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard in connection with the disclosure of highly classified military documents on the Ukraine war, authorities announced Thursday.
"Today the Justice Department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira, in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, transmission, and transition of classified national defense information. He is an employee of the United States Air National Guard," said US Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Teixeira is said to have not deliberately intended to commit treason. He was the leader of an online group called "Thug Shaker Central," a group of geeky guys who in 2020, sought each other out after being locked down during covid. Confronted at his home by reporters Thursday, his parents said he now needed a lawyer and refused to answer questions.
Investigators believe that the guardsman, who specializes in intelligence, led the chat group where the documents were posted, according to the two people, who were not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity to The Associated Press.
They identified the guardsman as 21-year-old Jack Teixeira of Swansea, Massachusetts.
It was not immediately clear if he had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf. But The New York Times, which first identified Teixeira earlier Thursday, said that a man who had been standing outside the Teixeira home said that "he needs to get an attorney if things are flowing the way they are going right now. The Feds will be around soon, I'm sure."
The Biden administration has scrambled for days to contain the fallout from the leaked information, which has publicized potential vulnerabilities in Ukraine's air defense capabilities and exposed private assessments by allies on an array of intelligence matters.
The National Guard did not confirm his identity but said in a statement that, "We are aware of the investigation into the alleged role a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman may have played in the recent leak of highly-classified documents."
The Biden administration has been working to assess the diplomatic and national security consequences of the leaked documents since they were first reported last week. A top Pentagon spokesman told reporters earlier this week that the disclosures present a "very serious risk to national security," and the Justice Department opened an investigation to identify the person responsible.
"We're getting close," President Joe Biden told reporters in Ireland on Thursday. He said that though he was concerned that sensitive government documents had been disclosed, "there's nothing contemporaneous that I'm aware of that is of great consequence."