A trail of digital footprints in the race to identify the leaker of a trove of U.S. intelligence documents has led to an Air National Guardsman.
The New York Times identified Jack Teixeira of the Massachusetts Air National Guard as the source of leaks that have damaged international relations for the U.S. and compromised top-secret intelligence about overseas allies and enemies. Teixeira may be responsible for uploading classified documents to a private Discord chat earlier this year. The chat room, dubbed Thug Shaker Central, included several members overseas in Europe and Ukraine.
Two U.S. officials confirmed to the Times that authorities are seeking to question Teixeira about the intelligence leak though stressed no one has been confirmed as a suspect.
Members of the Discord group affectionately referred to Teixeira as OG and would not disclose his identify or location, but the Times was able to name him by drawing connections between online gamer profiles and other records. Photos from inside Teixeira’s home also match patterns contained in the background of photographs he may have taken of classified documents. Social media posts show he is a member of the 102nd Intelligence Wing. His mother confirmed that he has changed his phone number in the past few days.
President Joe Biden, speaking from Ireland, said about the leaks, “There’s a full blown investigation going on, as you know, with the intelligence community and the Justice Department, and they’re getting close.”
The bond between Teixeira and members of his Discord group was extremely tight, and members were emotionally distraught over the risks that followed media attention about the intelligence leak, according to the Washington Post. One member who spoke with the Times relayed the shared belief that he was not seeking to emulate Edward Snowden, the NSA employee responsible for a massive intelligence breach under the Obama administration.