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Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old air national guardsman has been recently arrested as the prime suspect in the leak of classified intelligence documents.
On Thursday evening, the FBI arrested Teixeira and were searching his home. Video footage from a local TV station showed him being led away in handcuffs.
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.
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.
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.
While the members of the chat group would not identify the group’s leader by name, a trail of digital evidence compiled by The Times led to Airman Teixeira. American officials have confirmed that they believe he uploaded the information taken improperly from US military computers.