Law enforcement authorities have connected a 21-year-old member of the Air Force National Guard to a cache of secret government documents that were posted on Discord.

In North Dighton, Massachusetts, the suspect, Jack Teixeira, was detained on Thursday.

Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a statement saying, “Today, the Justice Department arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information.”

Last week, the Pentagon became aware of the private documents that had been uploaded on Discord, Twitter, Telegram, and 4chan. The leaks disclosed information regarding the US’s efforts to spy on Russia and its allies as well as specifics about the Russia-Ukraine war. Some of these leaked documents might even lead to diplomatic problems; for example, one of them purports to show that Serbia may have given Ukraine fatal assistance, which might put strain on Serbia’s relations with Russia.

When the documents were first discovered, they appeared to have been altered. For example, a file on a Telegram channel claimed that Ukraine had lost more soldiers in its conflict with Russia than had been reported. Later investigations revealed that unaltered versions were sent to other channels by third parties after being released sooner than initially thought. According to a Bellingcat analysis, the records might have been released as early as January.

The original leaker was identified as “OG” within the exclusive Discord channel “Thug Shaker Central,” where he also functioned as the administrator, according to a report by The Washington Post. The suspect reportedly uploaded typed-up versions of the documents on the server, but after growing impatient with the group’s lack of communication, he changed to sharing actual images with them. According to The New York Times, the interior furnishings, worktops, and carpeting in the background of these photos assisted the FBI in connecting Teixeira to them.

When asked how many documents were leaked during a press briefing on Thursday, Department of Defense press secretary Patrick Ryder said that law enforcement was still looking into the matter. Ryder also stated that Discord, which made a public announcement on Wednesday, is assisting the Department of Justice’s investigation. The Verge’s request for comment from Discord did not immediately receive a response.

In light of the fact that this was a criminal, intentional act, Ryder said, “We have safeguards in place, processes, procedures, and will continue to do due diligence as part of this review to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent potential unauthorized disclosures in the future.”


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