(Washington) A young man was arrested Thursday in the United States as part of the investigation into the leak of confidential American documents, a case posing a “very serious” risk to national security according to the Pentagon.

The suspect, Jack Teixeira, an employee of the Air National Guard, “was arrested without incident” and is scheduled to appear in court in the state of Massachusetts (northeast) soon, said Attorney General Merrick Garland during a short press conference.

The arrest, announced by American media before being confirmed by the authorities, took place in Dighton, a small rural town south of Boston, Massachusetts.

American television broadcast aerial footage showing the arrest of an individual by security force agents. A man could be seen, hands on his head and wearing a gray t-shirt and red shorts, slowly backing up towards soldiers before being arrested, then escorted to a civilian-looking vehicle.

“There is a full investigation underway […] and they are getting closer” to the outcome, US President Joe Biden said earlier during a visit to Ireland. “I’m concerned this happened,” he added.

The Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation after the documents leaked online, which detail Washington’s views on the war in Ukraine and appear to point to intelligence gathering on close US allies.

The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the leak was the work of a young man who worked on a military base, who shared his information on a private online social network Discord group.

Under the pseudonym “OG”, the suspect is said to have published documents from the military base where he works for months.

“OG” had asked other members of the group not to distribute the documents, saying he had no intention of being a whistleblower, the Washington Post quoted one of its sources as saying.

He was critical of the state – whose “abuse of power” he denounced – law enforcement and the intelligence community.

The group, made up of around twenty people, was formed in 2020 around their mutual passion for firearms, military equipment and religion.

White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said the United States was examining the “implications” of the leak “for national security.”

The Pentagon has also decided to further restrict access to this type of sensitive information, Jean-Pierre told reporters on the sidelines of Joe Biden’s trip to Ireland.

The spokeswoman added that the US government wants social networks to “avoid facilitating” the distribution of such confidential materials, believing that they have “a responsibility to their users and to the country.”

A spokesperson for Discord told AFP that the safety of its users is the platform’s priority and that any content violating its rules could result in the exclusion of the offender, the closure of discussion groups and a ban. reporting to authorities.

The company also said it is cooperating with law enforcement regarding the leaks.

Having these documents circulating online poses “a very serious national security risk and has the potential to fuel misinformation,” Defense Department spokesman Chris Meagher said Monday.

The documents posted online reveal in particular the concerns of the American intelligence services about the viability of a Ukrainian counter-offensive against Russian forces.

A document reviewed by AFP also noted US concerns about Ukraine’s ability to continue to defend against Russian strikes.

Dozens of photos of these documents have been relayed on Discord, but also Twitter and Telegram, some having undoubtedly circulated for weeks, if not months, before attracting the attention of the press.

However, US authorities have not publicly confirmed the authenticity of these documents posted online, and it has not yet been independently verified.

Many of these documents are no longer available on the sites where they originally appeared, and US authorities are reportedly working to have them all removed.