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Gaming Chatroom Led To Arrest In Big US Intel Leak: All You Need To Know

The leaked information appears to be classified US intelligence documents.

New Delhi:

A 21-year-old US national guardsman, Jack Teixeira, was arrested by the FBI on Thursday for leaking highly classified US defence documents online. Believed to be the biggest intelligence failure since the 2013 dump of National Security Agency documents by Edward Snowden, US authorities say sensitive government secrets were leaked in an online gaming chat group.

Who is Jack Teixeira?

Teixeira is an employee of the US Air Force National Guard stationed at the Otis Air National Guard Base in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is also a leading figure in an online gaming chat group called Thug Shaker Central on the social network platform Discord. In a roup mostly made up of teenagers, Teixeira went by the name ‘Jack the dripper’ and was referred to as ‘OG’. According to The Washington Post, Teixeira would often seek to impress the younger members by leaking classified information.

The group made up of 24 people, including some from Russia and Ukraine, shared a “mutual love of guns, military gear and God,” the Post reported.

What do the leaks reveal?

The leaked information appears to be classified US intelligence documents – some top secret – with a number of them related to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Unlike recent leaks – including the information leaked by Snowden or former US army whistleblower Chelsea Manning – the files leaked by Teixeira seem to be hard copies of briefing materials.

The leaked files also carry information on US and its allies including Israel, South Korea and Turkey.

Where did the documents appear?

Since the leak of the documents, the highly classified information turned up across multiple social media platforms including, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. However, Teixeira originally dumped them on Discord in his ‘Thug Shaker Central’ online gaming group. The documents drew more traction once they landed in far-right forums like 4Chan and pro-Russian chat groups on Telegram.

How has the world reacted?

While Ukraine has adamantly dismissed the leak as “Russian disinformation”, Russian state media pins it as a failure of President Joe Biden’s policy on Ukraine.

President Biden addressed the leak during his visit to Ireland on Thursday, saying he was “concerned”. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a statement applauding the FBI “for their swift arrest in connection with this investigation.”

Meanwhile, US ally South Korea termed the leaked documents as “altered” and “false”.

What are the implications?

As things stand, there has not been a major diplomatic fallout between US and its allies with the US State Department not announcing any contingency plans to correct potential misinformation. According to reports, there is little scope for any lasting diplomatic damage. While South Korea has aligned itself firmly on the stance taken by the US, another key US ally Israel has so far refused to comment on the claims about Mossad in the leaked files.
 

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