‘Leak suspect talked memes, video games, war’

 Friends of 21-year-old Jack Douglas Teixeira, the man accused of leaking classified US intelligence files, say he is not a whis­tleblower.

So why would a relative­ly junior airman with no clear motivation allegedly share highly sensitive documents online? The files, which number in the dozens, included confiden­tial information about the war in Ukraine and other national security issues.

Federal Bureau of Intel­ligence (FBI) investigators will no doubt be working to establish a potential motive.

Mr Teixeira’s family has a history of military service, and friends say he has long wanted to join the military, raising further questions about why the suspect would potentially endanger US national secu­rity by leaking the files.

His stepfather retired after 34 years of military service, while his mother previously worked for non-profit organisations focused on veterans, according to LinkedIn and public records cited by US media outlets. His mother posted photos of the fam­ily every year for Veterans Day.

The family live in North Dighton, Massachusetts, and Mr Teixeira graduated from high school there in 2020. He was arrested outside the family’s rural home by heavily armed FBI agents on Thursday.

Neighbours described him as being “big into video games”, but said he was a “good kid, not a troublemaker”. One said “he had a good head on his shoulders (and) wanted to join the military”.

Mr Teixeira allegedly first leaked the files on the online chatroom platform Discord, which is popular among gamers.

Known as “OG”, he was seen as the leader of an invitation-only chatroom called Thug Shaker Central that he created during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.

One member of the chatroom described Mr Teixeira as a young, char­ismatic gun enthusiast. Others said he was older than most in the group and appeared keen to impress them. —AP

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