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Airman Charged With Leaking Classified Pentagon Documents On Social Media

Pentagon ( Photo: CNN )

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old airman with the Massachusetts Air National Guard.


Pentagon ( Photo: NPR )

He has been arrested by the FBI on Thursday on suspicion of leaking highly classified Pentagon documents on social media

He has been charged with unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and unauthorized removal of classified information and defense materials. According to charging documents, Teixeira held a top-secret security clearance and allegedly began posting information about the classified Pentagon documents online around December 2022, and photos of documents in January.

Teixeira is believed to be the head of an invite-only Discord chatroom called Thug Shaker Central, where information from the classified documents was first posted months ago. The documents, some of which have been reviewed by CNN, included a wide range of highly Pentagon classified information, including eavesdropping on key allies and adversaries, and blunt assessments on the state of the Ukraine war.

Teixeira, who has held a Top Secret clearance since 2021, also “maintained sensitive compartmented access (SCI) to other highly classified programs,” the affidavit says. Many of the leaked Pentagon documents posted on the online server Discord were marked Top Secret. At least one of the documents he allegedly posted was accessible to him by virtue of his employment with the Air National Guard, the affidavit says.

Teixeira was under surveillance for at least a couple of days prior to his arrest by the FBI on Thursday, according to a US government source familiar with the case. Investigators narrowed in on the potential members of the chat group with evidence collected following the discovery of the classified documents online.

Teixeira, who was an Airman First Class in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, worked as a low-ranking IT official

In his role as a Cyber Transport Systems journeyman, he would have been working on a network that carried highly classified information, according to a defense official, which is why he needed a security clearance.

Teixeira, who grew up in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, according to public records, attended Dighton-Rehoboth High School where he graduated in 2020, according to the superintendent of the regional school district. Several former high school classmates of Teixeira’s told CNN Thursday that he had a fascination with the military, guns, and war. He would sometimes wear camouflage to school, carried a “dictionary-sized book on guns,” and behaved in a way that made some fellow students feel uneasy.

Magistrate Judge David Hennessy informed Teixeira of the charges he was facing and scheduled a detention hearing for Teixeira on Wednesday. Teixeira did not enter a formal plea.

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