The FBI has arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old soldier suspected of being behind the leak of classified Pentagon documents.

We could see a man, wearing a gray t-shirt and red shorts with his hands on his head, walking slowly back towards the armed security forces, camouflaged before being arrested and then taken to a vehicle.

Biden is ‘concerned’

“The full investigation is underway (…) and they’re getting close to a conclusion,” US President Joe Biden said during an earlier visit to Ireland. “I am concerned that this has happened,” he added.

The U.S. Justice Department has launched a criminal investigation after documents leaked online detail Washington’s views on the war in Ukraine and indicate intelligence gathering by close U.S. allies, including Israel and South Korea.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the leak was the work of a young man who worked at a military base, who shared his information in a private online group on the social network Discord. Under the pseudonym “OG,” the suspect allegedly released months of documents from the military base where he worked.

Two posts on the Massachusetts Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing Facebook page mention Jack Teixeira, saying he was promoted to Airman First Class in July 2022.

The U.S. National Guard Bureau said Teixeira enlisted in September 2019 and, as an information technology and communications specialist, reached the rank of Air Force First Class — the third-lowest among enlisted Airmen.

“OG” asked other members of the Discord team not to distribute the documents, according to the Washington Post, promising that he had no intention of being a whistleblower. He criticized the government – whose “abuse of power” he condemned – the police and the intelligence community.

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The group of about twenty people, some of them from Russia and Ukraine, formed in 2020 around their mutual interest in guns, military equipment and religion.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the US was studying the “implications” of the leak for “national security”.

The Pentagon has decided to further restrict access to this type of sensitive information, Jean-Pierre told reporters on the sidelines of Joe Biden’s visit to Ireland.

The spokesperson added that the US government wants social networks to “avoid facilitating” the distribution of such classified material, believing they have a “responsibility to their users and to the country”.

A “very serious” risk

A spokesperson for Discord told AFP that the site’s top priority was the safety of its users and that it would ensure it cooperated with law enforcement.

The circulation of these documents online “poses a very serious risk to national security and has the potential to fuel disinformation,” US Department of Defense spokesman Chris Mager said on Monday.

Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder said Thursday that the leak was a “deliberate criminal act.”

Documents released online specifically reveal US intelligence concerns about the possibility of a Ukrainian counterattack against Russian forces.

A document reviewed by AFP revealed US concerns about Ukraine’s ability to defend itself against Russian strikes.

Dozens of photos of these documents have been posted on Discord, Twitter and Telegram, some no doubt circulated for weeks or months before they caught the attention of the press.

However, US authorities have not publicly confirmed the authenticity of these documents posted online, and it has yet to be independently verified.

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