Suspect Jack Douglas Teixeira, who was arrested on Thursday over leaking online US defense and intelligence documents, is of Portuguese American descent, CNN.Portugal has reported.
The suspect, a 21-year-old US Air Force National Guard member, is a resident of North Dighton, Massachusetts, a third-generation Portuguese American, the grandson of Azorean immigrants, Francisco Viveiros, president of the Fall River based Casa dos Açores of New England, confirmed to CNN.Portugal.
Teixeira worked at a military base where confidential documents were stored. He was the leader of an online gaming chat group from where the files were leaked, revealing sensitive intelligence documents about the war in Ukraine, including related details involving many countries around the world.
He was arrested and handcuffed by armed FBI officers, at the family home in North Dighton, and could face a sentence exceeding 10 years. The intelligence leaks, which started several months ago, involved more than 100 classified documents posted on Discord, a social media platform popular with gamers.
According to an official spokesperson, from the US Department of Defense, the case is under investigation to “understand the scope, scale and impact of these leaks.”
The FBI has said that Teixeira was taken into custody “at a residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts, for his alleged involvement in leaking classified U.S. government and military documents.”
“The FBI is continuing to conduct authorized law enforcement activity at the residence. 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 FBI stated.
Portuguese government authorities confirmed that the Portuguese consular services in the United States have no record of a person named, Jack Teixeira, identified as a Portuguese citizen or an American citizen of Portuguese descent holding dual citizenship.
“This is a situation that we have obviously been following. The truth is that this person and the news has been made public, we don’t have in our consular records anyone with the name of Jack Teixeira, we don’t. This is factual, therefore, he is not registered as a Portuguese citizen with that name,” said Secretary of State for the Communities, Paulo Cafôfo, questioned by the Lusa news agency.
“Here, our position is simply to follow this case. But a follow-up that ends up being limited, since it is not, in the records that we have and what is the information that we have, a Portuguese citizen with that name, who does not exist in our records,” he reiterated.
Jack Teixeira, who first appeared in court in Boston on Friday, will reportedly be charged under the espionage act. It is unclear how Teixeira gained access to classified documents.
Teixeira may have leaked the documents merely to impress his online friends. It has been reported that, at first, the leaks were kept inside the small chat room, but in early March members began posting them on other Discord servers, including ones dedicated to the game Minecraft and a Filipino YouTuber.
Jack Douglas Teixeira, 21, enlisted in the Massachusetts Air National Guard 102nd Intelligence Wing after graduating in 2020 from high school in North Dighton, Massachusetts.
As a guardsman, he was then promoted to Airman 1st Class last July, where he worked under the duty title of “cyber transport systems journeyman” responsible for effectively keeping the internet working in the bases for seamless operations in the global communications network that links military units around the world.
Teixeira is suspected of appropriating several classified documents that included intelligence on the ongoing Ukraine war posted on social media. The documents were initially shared by him in a Discord chatroom with 20 to 30 members. The documents found their way to a broader audience online.
This developing story will be updated.