What is the intelligence mission of the Massachusetts Air National Guard?

WASHINGTON — Among the many questions regarding how a junior enlisted airman may have been behind one of the largest leaks of top-secret information since Edward Snowden is how a person in his position could have access to those reports.

The F.B.I. has arrested 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, who is an Airman First Class in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, and he is accused of illegally sharing classified defense information.

Air Force officials said that he was trained as a “Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman” and was decorated with an Air Force Achievement Medal, which is awarded to junior officers for notable achievements. The service’s career website says cyber transport systems specialists are responsible for keeping the force’s communication network running.

The job requires that applicants complete what the military calls a single-scope background investigation, which is required before being granted a top-secret security clearance.

The unit Mr. Teixeira is believed to be assigned to, the 102nd Intelligence Wing, is headquartered on Otis Air National Guard Base, which is on Joint Base Cape Cod in Eastern Massachusetts.

When a Times reporter called the executive offices of the wing, a person identifying himself as Colonel Gordon twice directed any questions to the Department of Justice or the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On its official website, the wing lists its mission as providing “worldwide precision intelligence and command and control along with trained and experienced Airmen for expeditionary combat support and homeland security.”

The wing commander’s biography says he is responsible for 1,260 military and civilian personnel, and their duties include responding to domestic emergencies in Massachusetts while also training for wartime missions.

Those missions are given as “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations, cryptologic intelligence, cyber engineering and installation support, medical, and expeditionary combat support.”

A unit at the Otis base also processes intelligence from U-2 spy planes, RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-4 Reaper drones and provides support to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. That unit, the 102nd Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Group, is a subordinate unit of the 102nd Intelligence Wing.

The 102nd Intelligence Wing publicly lists several job openings for airmen in signals, cryptologic and geospatial intelligence.

The state of Massachusetts has a long history with the National Guard, which was founded there on Dec. 13, 1636, according to an official website which notes that the first guard aviation unit in Massachusetts was authorized in 1921.

After the attacks on Sept. 11, airmen of the Massachusetts Air National Guard have flown air patrols over the East Coast. They have long supported combat operations overseas as well.

The Massachusetts Air National Guard website says that members can choose among 200 different career fields and will “learn leadership skills that today’s employers value.”

“No matter what you’re interested in,” the website says, “there’s a good chance you’ll find it here.”

Anushka Patil contributed reporting.

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