U.S. authorities have charged Jack Teixeira, 21, with leaking a trove of highly classified documents online, including information about Russia’s war in Ukraine. Here is what we know about the suspect.
What was his job?
Teixeira served with the Air National Guard in the northeastern U.S. state of Massachusetts, where he worked as an information technology specialist. His unit — the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts National Guard — was responsible for providing intelligence support to many units of the military. Teixeira was a Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman for the unit, an IT specialist who worked on military communications networks, including their cabling and hubs.
Was he on active duty?
While the National Guard is primarily made up of reserve troops who can be called to assist with domestic emergencies, some members of the Guard can be classified as full time or active duty. Teixeira was under Title 10 authority of the Air National Guard, according to Reuters, a designation that means he was on active duty and was essentially a full-time member of the unit.
What about his family?
Teixeira came from a military family. His stepfather spent more than three decades in the military, including in the same military unit as Teixeira, according to U.S. media reports. His mother has worked for nonprofit organizations that support veterans.
Where is he alleged to have posted classified information?
U.S. media have reported that Teixeira allegedly shared classified documents with a group of young men who chatted regularly on Discord, a social media platform popular with gamers. The Washington Post reported that Teixeira first wrote down the classified information to share with the group, but when some members were not taking the documents seriously, he began taking photos of the material and posting them.
What did the group talk about?
According to members of the chat group who spoke to reporters, the group called itself “Thug Shaker Central.” The chatroom was a space where members could discuss guns and ammunition as well as share internet memes and jokes. They said Teixeira, who went by the nickname “the O.G.” in the chats, was an observant Christian as well as a libertarian.
What was his motivation?
Government investigators have yet to say what Teixeira’s motivation was for allegedly sharing the classified material. Members of the chat group who spoke to reporters described Teixeira’s motive as trying to impress the group, rather than a wish to undermine the government or for ideological reasons.
How did he get access to classified information?
A court affidavit released Friday said that Teixeira had possessed a top secret security clearance since 2021. The Associated Press cited a defense official who said Teixeira would have needed such a clearance to access the military communications networks that he worked on.
What charges is he facing?
The guard member faces two criminal charges: unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information, and unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents. The first charge falls under the Espionage Act, a statute that the Justice Department has relied on to prosecute leaks of classified information.
What possible sentence is he facing?
If convicted of the charges, Teixeria faces up to 15 years in prison. His sentence would depend in part on how many counts he was convicted on and whether they were to be served consecutively or concurrently.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.