Feds Arrest Leaker Of Top Secret Docs On Ukraine War, Went By ‘OG’ In Chat Rooms

Feds Arrest Leaker Of Top Secret Docs On Ukraine War, Went By ‘OG’ In Chat Rooms

Feds arrest leaker

Screenshot from ABC-TV affiliate WCVB-TV Boston

Federal investigators on Thursday searched the home of a 21-year-old member of the Air National Guard suspected of leaking secret U.S. documents and arrested Jack Teixeira. Federal agents have been searching for days for the person who leaked the documents.

A stash of classified intelligence documents related to the Ukraine war has been showing up for several months on a small online gaming chat group originally led by a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, according to interviews and documents reviewed by The New York Times.

The national guardsman, Jack Teixeira, oversaw the private online group Thug Shaker Central, part of the Discord community, where about 20 to 30 people, mostly teens and young men, shared a love of guns, racist online memes and video games, the Times reported.

Earlier Thursday, President Joe Biden, while on a visit to Irelandy, said the Justice Department was “getting close” to identifying the classified document leaker.

The documents appear to detail U.S. and NATO aid to Ukraine and U.S. intelligence assessments regarding U.S. allies that could strain ties with those countries, PBS reported. They show that Ukraine was close to running out of missiles and interceptors needed to defend itself against Russian attacks. It also highlighted maps and updates on allies, including Egypt, South Korea and Israel, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that the original leaker is a young man who worked on a military base, according to a friend in the Discord community where the documents were leaked. While working in a secure facility that contained secret information, the leaker would at first copy the classified documents by hand before posting them to the Discord group composed of religious gun and military enthusiasts, the Post reported. When that became too difficult, he switched to photographing the documents and posting them.

The leaker is a gun and military enthusiast who started sharing the documents with online friends and acquaintances — some of them just teens — who had bonded during the isolation of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Washington Post profile published Thursday.

One of the users uploaded hundreds of pages of intelligence briefings into the small chat group, lecturing its members on the need to keep up with world events.

The New York Times spoke with four members of the Thug Shaker Central chat group. One said he has known the leaker for at least three years, met him in person, and referred to him as the O.G. The group members described him as older than most of the group, who were in their teens, and the leader. One of the friends said the O.G. had access to intelligence documents through his job. 

Investigators haven’t ruled out the chance that the Russian government may have been involved in obtaining some of the classified documents and potentially manipulating some of their contents, Bloomberg reported.

Teixeira was congratulated in July 2022 on the Facebook page of the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing for being promoted to Airman First Class: “Way to go!!!”

Investigators will be seeking a motive. The fact that there were classified markings on the documents makes it likely that the leaker knew he was causing harm, one official said.