DIGHTON, Mass. (WPRI) — The man suspected of leaking highly classified documents was arrested Thursday at a home in Dighton, Massachusetts, after the FBI and other law enforcement agencies swarmed the small Bristol County town.
Federal officials have confirmed they arrested Jack Douglas Teixeira, who is accused of leaking secret intelligence documents online. The documents contain confidential details about U.S. support for the Ukrainian government in its war against Russia, and the leak has caused international turmoil.
“FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier this afternoon without incident,” U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland said at a brief news conference Thursday afternoon. “This investigation is ongoing. We will share more information at the appropriate time.”
Target 12 has confirmed Teixeira, 21, was found in Dighton, Mass. He is a member of the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard. The property where law enforcement gathered Thursday is a single-family home whose owner is listed by the local assessor’s office as Dawn Teixeira.
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Target 12 has confirmed Teixeira is a graduate of Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School.
Aerial footage of the home Thursday shows several law enforcement agents wearing tactical gear taking into custody a young man without incident. The man, wearing a green T-shirt and red shorts, walked backward with his hands up toward the agents until he was detained, handcuffed and sat down onto the back of a military truck.
Federal officials said Teixeira will be arraigned at Massachusetts U.S. District Court on Friday, Garland said.
The home is in the North Dighton section of Dighton, a Massachusetts town of about 8,100 people alongside the western bank of the Taunton River. It’s about 18 miles east of Providence.
WATCH: Attorney General Merrick Garland announces the arrest of Teixeira (Story continues below.)
The Associated Press reported Thursday afternoon the FBI was seeking to question Teixeira in connection with the disclosure of the classified documents.
“The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence,” an FBI spokesperson said after the arrest. “Since late last week, the FBI has aggressively pursued investigative leads and today’s arrest exemplifies our continued commitment to identifying, pursuing, and holding accountable those who betray our country’s trust and put our national security at risk.”
The disclosures of the documents represented a “very serious risk to national security,” a Pentagon spokesperson said earlier this week. The information — some of which was reportedly altered — was published on multiple websites, including the popular online videogame platform, Discord.
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Following Teixeira’s arrest, Massachusetts Congressman Jake Auchincloss — a Democrat who represents Dighton — said anybody who shared these classified documents “betrayed the confidence of the country, undermined U.S. foreign policy, and jeopardized the lives of compatriots overseas.”
“They should be punished to the fullest extent to the law,” he added, while not naming Teixeira specifically. “Further, the Pentagon will need to explain how material of such sensitive nature was available to personnel who did not have need to know.”
Rhode Island U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a Democrat and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the major security breach cannot happen again because it endangers the U.S. military and intelligence and the country’s international affairs.
“Anyone with a security clearance who betrays their country by purposefully mishandling classified documents or disclosing classified materials must be held accountable,” he said, although he warned “more answers are still needed.”
“There are systemic issues that need to be addressed, including protocols for how intelligence is handled, the security clearance process, and how officials can prevent intelligence leaks like this from ever happening again,” Reed said. “Congress will be briefed further and corrective steps will be taken.”
Ted Nesi (email@example.com) is a Target 12 investigative reporter and 12 News politics/business editor. He co-hosts Newsmakers and writes Nesi’s Notes on Saturdays. Connect with him on Threads, Twitter and Facebook.
Steph Machado and Jacqui Gomersall contributed to this report. Material from The Associated Press was also used in this report.