On the leak of top secret security documents for Jack Teixeira and his connection to a Russian Air Force officer: A press release by the Department of Defense
The charging documents for Jack Teixeira, who was a first class airman, show that he was granted a top secret security clearance in 2021, which is needed for his job as a computer network technician in the Massachusetts Air National Guard.
A small amount of classified documents were posted on social media last week. The documents included sensitive details about the war in Ukraine as well as eavesdropping from intelligence agencies on world leaders.
A file had been found on a Telegram channel that claimed that more Ukrainian soldiers had died in the war with Russia than was documented. Later investigations discovered that the altered versions were spread to other channels by third parties. The documents could have been posted as far back as January.
According to a report from The Washington Post, the original leaker was known as “OG” within the private Discord server “Thug Shaker Central,” where he also served as the administrator. The suspect initially posted typed-up versions of the documents to the server, but later shared real photos with the group after growing frustrated by the members lack of interaction with them. The background of these photographs, which contained interior decorations, countertops, and flooring, helped the FBI make the connection to Teixeira, according to The New York Times.
During a press conference on Thursday, Department of Defense press secretary Patrick Ryder declined to comment on how many documents were leaked, while stating that law enforcement is still investigating. Discord is cooperating with the Department of Justice, the company said publicly on Wednesday. Discord didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment.
“We have safeguards in place, we have processes, we have procedures, and will continue to do due diligence as part of this review to ensure that we’re doing everything we can to prevent potential unauthorized disclosures in the future, recognizing that again, this was a criminal, deliberate act,” Ryder said.
An Air National Guard Sergeant in Worcester, Mass. (Teixeira) Teixeira, an Off-duty Air Force Sergeant, and the Office of the Attorney General
A member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested by the FBI on Thursday in connection with the leaking of classified documents that have been posted online, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced Thursday.
Garland said that Teixeira was arrested in Massachusetts without incident and will be appearing in federal court there. The investigation is ongoing. We will share more information at the appropriate time,” the attorney general said, declining to answer questions.
The FBI continues to perform authorized law enforcement activity at the residence. The FBI has been aggressive in pursuing leads, and today’s arrest is another example of their commitment to protect national security.
The search for the suspect started with many people who had access to the documents, but investigators were able to quickly narrow down the search to a few people after the discovery of classified documents on the internet.
Biden has been regularly briefed on the investigation, officials said, as well as the efforts by his top officials to engage with allies who have been identified within, or unsettled by, the content of the leaked information, according to one of the officials. Behind the scenes, it has been a reality that has loomed over a deeply personal and important foreign trip for Biden, one official acknowledged.
A U.S. Army SEAL in Cape Cod, MA: A Charged-Dominated 7-year-Otis Detector of the 102nd Intelligence Wing
According to charging documents, Teixeira worked in the 102nd Intelligence Wing based at Otis Air Force Base in Cape Cod, Mass., since May 2022. Teixeira’s step-father and step-brother appear to have worked at the same military base.
Brooke Cleathero was one of the people who were afraid of him. He was a one-man band and had a fascination with guns that made him off-putting to many people.
John Powell, who also attended middle school and high school with Teixeira, said he recalled him as a pleasant and quiet kid who was sometimes picked on. He said that he didn’t have many friends.
Public records show that the boy lived in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island. He attended Dighton-Rehoboth High School where he graduated in 2020, according to the superintendent of the regional school district.
The students who asked not to be identified said they detected a more menacing vibe from Teixeira, who they said made comments they believed to be racist or offensive.
The student said she was surprised by the allegations against him and took his fascination with the military as a form of American nationalism. “I didn’t think he would be capable of doing something like this,” she said.
The Pentagon Joint Staff Study of a Pentagon Agent for Intelligence and Security: Comments on the Air National Guardsman Tim Teixeira
Some US officials who used to receive the briefing materials daily have stopped receiving them in recent days, sources familiar with the matter told CNN, as the Pentagon’s Joint Staff continues to whittle down its distribution lists.
The Joint Staff, which comprises the Defense Department’s most senior uniformed leadership that advises the president, began examining its distribution lists immediately after learning of the trove of leaked classified documents – many of which had markings indicating that they had been produced by the Joint Staff’s intelligence arm, known as the J2.
The Defense Secretary directed the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Security to review intelligence access following the arrest of the Air National Guardsman.
Ryder said the Pentagon continues “to review a variety of factors as it relates to safeguarding classified materials. This includes looking at and updating distribution lists and assessing how and where intelligence products are shared.
A team of counterintelligence investigators have experience in hunting down leaks, which is why the criminal investigation is being led by the FBI.
The damage assessment is being worked on by investigators and Pentagon officials in the hopes that it would become part of the evidence used in a potential prosecution.
Pentagon officials say the number of people with such access is in the thousands, if not tens of thousands. And just below them, those with “secret” clearance include nearly everyone else who works for the Pentagon or other national security agencies. The military has contractors who have some level of security clearance.
The affidavit states that he was granted access to what is called sensitive compartmented information, or SCI, which typically tells a user how the intelligence was derived — such as the use of human spies or signals intercepts. Military and civilian users of SCI must sign nondisclosure agreements at the beginning and end-points of their service that involves access to such information.
The classification markings seen on the top secret-level documents Mr. Teixeira is accused of leaking usually have such markings, which is standard practice.
Jack Teixeira, 21, of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, is charged with two criminal counts of unauthorized retention, transmission and retention of classified information
According to an Air Force career website, all “cyber transport system” airmen must pass the kind of background investigation required for that high-level clearance, which essentially allows them to work on computer networks carrying top-secret data.
The C.I.A. and Defense Intelligence Agency’s own secret-level and top-secret-level portals typically contain short vignettes on world events on their homepages, divvied up by geographic region and topic area — which can be see in some of the files that Teixeira is accused of taking.
Teixeira’s unit provides worldwide intelligence for combat support and homeland security. Teixeira was granted a “top secret security clearance” in 2021, meaning he would have signed a “lifetime binding non-disclosure agreement” acknowledging that leaking protected information could result in criminal charges, according to the federal complaint.
Such missions produce large streams of classified data, and airmen like Mr. Teixeira would likely be needed to maintain the networks that allow video and text information to flow from the drones to other users.
In the immediate term, Russian military planners will study the leaked files for clues to their own compromised agencies as the Pentagon is dealing with the aftermath of the leaking of scores of pages of sensitive material. Questions about whether the term “top secret” is even secret, and whether national security agencies have allowed their sensitive material to drift too far out of the country, are raised by the case.
Jack Teixeira, who is accused of publishing top-secret Pentagon documents on social media, made his initial court appearance at the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Friday.
The 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard faces two criminal counts: unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and the unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material.
It’s not the first time a person with an IT background has been suspected of leaking classified information. Edward Snowden, who released a trove of documents from the National Security Agency in 2013, was a federal contractor and systems administrator in Hawaii at the time. Generally, IT professionals have access to an array of records and servers in order to fix technical problems.
Initially, the purpose of divulging secret information was to “discuss geopolitical affairs and current and historical wars,” the federal complaint said.
NPR found that many users of the Discord channel where Teixeira leaked information were fascinated by Orthodox Catholicism, guns, as well as racist, vile memes.
Terry Davis, a computer programmer who suffered from schizophrenia, was the subject of a profile picture that was used by the founder of the channel.
Comment on “Boost channels for improved streaming quality and emojis” by A. Teixeira on Discord
His friends said that his friends didn’t mean for the documents to spread beyond their chat, but one of them did.
Teixeira posted the documents using a social media account that he signed up for using his real name and credit card information, according to the charging documents.
On Discord, users can “boost” channels they manage by making monthly payments, allowing them to get better streaming quality and other perks like access to additional emojis.