Report: Leader of Online Group Where Pentagon Leaks Appeared Is 21-Year-Old Air National Guardsman

FILE - The Pentagon is seen from Air Force One as it flies over Washington, March 2, 2022.
Patrick Semansky/AP

The New York Times on Thursday revealed the name of the leader of an online gaming group where classified Pentagon leaks first reportedly appeared as Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman.

The paper — which was the first to report the existence of the leaks — identified him as a member of the intelligence wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, who oversaw a private online group named “Thug Shaker Central.”

Two U.S. officials told the Times that they want to talk to him about the leak, although neither the paper nor officials called him a “suspect.”

One official told the paper that Teixeira might have information relevant to the investigation.

The leaks of hundreds of classified military documents appeared in the small group chat, according to members of the group that the outlet spoke to who referred to Teixeira as the “OG.” Earlier on Thursday, the Washington Post reported that the leaker was identified as “OG” by other members of the group.

The paper reported that while the group members did not identify the group’s leader by name, “a trail of digital evidence compiled by The Times leads to Airman Teixeira.”

The paper also reported it used details found on social media to link Teixeira to details seen in the leaked documents.

It reported that Teixeira is enlisted in the 102nd Intelligence Wing of the Massachusetts Air National Guard and was congratulated on the unit’s official Facebook page for being promoted to Airman First Class in July 2022.

The paper identified Teixeira’s mother, “Dawn,” and visited her home in Massachusetts. She told the Times her son was a member of the Air National Guard, had recently been working overnight shifts at a base on Cape Cod, and had recently changed his number.

According to the paper, someone who appeared to be Teixeira drove onto the property. When Times reporters approached his mother and a man in the driveway and asked if Teixeira would be willing to speak, the man said, “He needs to get an attorney if things are flowing the way they are going right now. The Feds will be around soon, I’m sure.”

Group chat members said the documents they discussed online were meant to be informative, and its members took no side in the conflict. They told both the Times and the Post that the person who leaked the documents was not a “whistleblower” and that the documents were never meant to leave their group chat. The Post reported at least one member was under 18.

But one of the members, a 17-year-old, told the Times: “This guy was a Christian, anti-war, just wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on. … We have some people in our group who are in Ukraine. We like fighting games, we like war games.”

The documents were discovered when one of the members posted them to a public online form, where they were picked up by Russian-language Telegram channels.

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