Jack Douglas Teixeira was arrested on Thursday for allegedly leaking a trove of highly classified documents online.
Here is what we know about him.
The 21-year-old was arrested by a team of heavily-armed FBI agents at his mother and stepfather’s house in North Dighton in Massachusetts on Thursday, and appeared before a federal judge in Boston Friday.
Teixeira served with the Air National Guard in Massachusetts, as did his stepfather.
A social media post on his mother’s flower shop’s account, made in 2021, shows a now widely-circulated photo of Teixeira in his military uniform in front of a U.S. flag. The post notes that Teixeira’s stepbrother and stepfather were both in the military as well.
Thomas Dufault, his stepfather, retired as a master sergeant in 2019 from the 102nd Intelligence Wing, the same unit Teixeira was in.
Dufault served in the military for 34 years, according to pictures from his retirement ceremony viewed by Reuters on Friday.
Teixeira worked as a “Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman” – an IT specialist – and was an Airman 1st class based out of Otis Air National Guard Base near Providence, Rhode Island. His unit, the 102nd intelligence wing of the Massachusetts National Guard, is responsible for providing intelligence support to many units of the military.
Teixeira joined the Air National Guard in 2019, part of the National Guard that reports to the governor of their respective state or territory. The National Guard is made up of reserve troops that often hold civilian jobs or attend schools, and often respond to domestic emergencies. Teixeira was under ‘Title 10’ authority, a designation that means he was essentially a full time member.
According to an affidavit released on Friday, Teixeira not only had a “top secret” security clearance but also he maintained “sensitive compartmented access (SCI)” since 2021, giving him broad access to highly classified information.
It is unclear why Teixeira needed to have such a high security clearance but one reason might be that he would have needed it to work on highly secured systems in his IT role.
The affidavit said Teixeira had started posting classified information on social media around December 2022.
For reasons that haven’t been made completely clear, Teixeira shared the sensitive documents with a crew of young men who gravitated to a guns-and-ammo-focused server – a kind of chat room – on Discord, an instant messaging platform popular with gamers.
The private server was at one point known as “Thug Shaker Central.”
The Washington Post interviewed two members of the server who described the chat room as a venue for dark humor and outrageous comments, and reported viewing a video of Teixeira shouting bigoted and anti-Jewish abuse before firing a rifle.
Reuters was not able to verify the Post’s description. Discord says it is cooperating with authorities in the probe.
In a criminal complaint made public on Friday, Teixeira was charged with unlawfully copying and possessing classified defense records. Each offense can carry up to 10 years in prison, and hundreds of documents were allegedly shared.
U.S. Army Private First Class Chelsea Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison for sharing documents, videos and diplomatic cables that appeared on WikiLeaks in 2010, but was released in 2017.