DIGHTON - Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, has been identified as the suspect who allegedlyclassified U.S. intelligence documents online. The 21-year-old was arrested by federal agents Thursday afternoon in North Dighton.
Teixeira is an Airman 1st Class in the Guard's 102nd Intelligence Wing, according to the organization's Facebook page. A defense official told CBS News he was stationed at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, working as a cyber transport systems journeyman responsible for supporting cyber network infrastructure.
Heavily armed law enforcement could be seen Teixeira's childhood home in Dighton Thursday afternoon. Teixeira came out of the home with his hands behind his head, backed up slowly, and was taken into custody outside the home.
"FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident," Attorney General Merrick Garland said. "This investigation is ongoing. We will share more information at the appropriate time."
Garland said Teixeira was arrested "in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information."
Garland said he will have an initial appearance at the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in Boston.
Teixeira was first identified Thursday by the New York Times as the "leader of a small online gaming chat group" named "Thug Shaker Central," that's allegedly responsible for leaking the documents.
According to Associated Press sources, the FBI wants to question him in the leak of the highly classified military documents on the war in Ukraine.
Clues that pointed to Teixeira included matching his mom's kitchen countertop to the surface where photos of the leaked documents were taken.
The Pentagon press secretary said Thursday afternoon the leaking of secret defense and intelligence documents online was "a deliberate criminal act."
The Biden administration has been working to assess the diplomatic and national security consequences of the leaked documents since they first surfaced online 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.
Thecontained details about the war in Ukraine, including an analysis of Ukraine's air defenses, as well as information about South Korea. Officials said some of the documents appeared to be doctored, but acknowledged some of the slides appeared to contain secret information.
I-Team sources say agents are executing a search warrant in the home, looking for more evidence, anything from computers, cell phones, flash drives, tablets and physical documents. With a search warrant agents will be able to see everything in those devices including text messages, emails, Google searches, location data and GPS points.
"The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence," a spokesperson for the FBI said. "Since late last week the FBI has aggressively pursued investigative leads, and today's arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country's trust and put our national security at risk."
Sources say Teixeira will remain in FBI custody Thursday night and will make an appearance in federal court in Boston Friday.
The Times reported that Teixeira "oversaw a private online group named Thug Shaker Central, where about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers, came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes and video games."
In a statement to WBZ-TV, the Massachusetts Air National Guard said, "We would refer you to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for details."
Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School superintendent Bill Runey confirmed that Teixeira graduated in 2020.