Pentagon leak: Suspect arrested after classified documents appear on Discord

Federal authorities took a member of the U.S. Air Force National Guard into custody on Thursday in connection with the investigation into highly classified U.S. intelligence that has recently been leaked online.

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Attorney General Merrick Garland confirmed that the FBI took Teixeira into custody without incident on Thursday afternoon “in connection with an investigation into alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information.”

Teixeira, 21, specializes in intelligence and ran and who ran the online messaging group where the documents first emerged, according to The Associated Press.

Earlier Thursday, President Joe Biden told reporters that authorities were “getting close” in their investigation into the dozens of military documents that recently made their way onto social media. The documents include tactical information about Ukrainian forces amid the ongoing war with Russia and information about U.S. allies, including Israel, South Korea and Turkey, Reuters reported.

“There is a full-blown investigation going on, as you know, with the intelligence community and the Justice Department,” Biden said. “And they’re getting close.”

Earlier Thursday, the Times reported that authorities wanted to interview Teixeira. Unidentified sources told The Wall Street Journal that he was based at Fort Bragg in North Carolina at the time of the leak.

On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that the person who leaked the documents is “a young, charismatic gun enthusiast” and that he shared the records with a group of acquaintances on the messaging platform Discord. A member of the group told the newspaper that the person, who went by the moniker OG, first shared typed-out transcriptions of what he said were classified intelligence records that he had brought home from his job on a military base.

Later, OG shared hundreds of photos of classified documents, the Post reported. The records were so sensitive that only people who had undergone months of background checks would have been authorized to see them, according to the newspaper.

Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday that authorities are reviewing their procedures in the wake of the leak. He called the incident a “deliberate criminal act” meant to circumvent guidelines and rules put in place to keep sensitive information restricted on a need-to-know basis.

“This was a deliberate criminal act to violate those guidelines and rules in the same way that if you locked your front door and somebody came into your house and took something, you followed your procedures and you locked your door, but somebody went in your house and took something and put it out on the street,” he said.

Authorities continue to investigate.