National Guardsman Arrested For Leaking Top Secret Ukraine War Documents On Discord

So, we’re just handing out top secret security clearance to everyone, I guess. It was clear from the documents posted to Discord (before spreading everywhere), the person behind them would soon be located.
The folded security briefings were obviously smuggled out of secure rooms in someone’s pocket and then photographed carelessly, in one case on top of a hunting magazine. I mean, that narrows it down to people who still buy stuff printed on physical media, a number that shrinks exponentially by the day.
On top of that, the entry level for the leaked info — much of it related to the current invasion of Ukraine by Russia — was Discord, which no one has considered to be the equivalent of Signal or any other secure site for the dissemination of sensitive material.
The DOJ and Pentagon obliquely admitted that, despite some obvious clues, this hunt for the leak source might take some time. In its own estimation, the Defense Department estimated “thousands” of government employees might have access to these briefings and other national security documents. But for it to end up here (if, in fact, the government has actually gotten its man) is both surprising and a bit depressing.

Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested by federal authorities Thursday in connection to the investigation of classified documents that were leaked on the internet.
FBI agents took Teixeira into custody earlier Thursday afternoon “without incident,” Attorney General Merrick Garland announced in brief remarks at the Department of Justice, which has been conducting a criminal investigation into the matter.

We’re apparently letting an army of weekend contributors — a division of the military best known for sandbag deployment and shooting college students — access sensitive information pertaining to a war taking place halfway around the world that they’re in no danger of being deployed to.
Perhaps this is the unintended consequence of de-siloing of intel after investigations showed the government’s ability to keep secrets from itself contributed to its inability to prevent the 9/11 attacks. Or perhaps this is the government taking a lackadaisical approach to operational security, assuming it can absorb any exposure and/or adequately punish anyone taking advantage of the government’s willingness to grant security clearance to nearly anyone remotely involved in national security.
These are still criminal allegations. But whoever was behind the leaks wasn’t doing this to serve the public good, at least not if other members of the Discord server these documents first appeared in are to be believed. Teixeira apparently dumped classified docs there because it was easy to do and he hoped these multiple federal law violations would secure him the friendship of other server members.
The Washington Post’s long report of the origin of these leaks paints a pretty disturbing picture about the person behind them.

The young member was impressed by OG’s seemingly prophetic ability to forecast major events before they became headline news, things “only someone with this kind of high clearance” would know. He was by his own account enthralled with OG, who he said was in his early to mid-20s.
“He’s fit. He’s strong. He’s armed. He’s trained. Just about everything you can expect out of some sort of crazy movie,” the member said.
In a video seen by The Post, the man who the member said is OG stands at a shooting range, wearing safety glasses and ear coverings and holding a large rifle. He yells a series of racial and antisemitic slurs into the camera, then fires several rounds at a target.

While “OG” periodically made claims he wanted other server members to “see” how the US government “really works,” he also espoused conspiracy theories and often expressed his anger that members weren’t showing enough interest in his posts. One member of this server (Thug Shaker Central, itself a bit of a racial slur) decided to post these to another Discord server. It spread from there, finally surfacing on social media sites where anyone could view them, rather than just server members.
That an air guardsman would have this access is a bit of shock, as is the lack of internal controls at whatever base employed him. More shocking is the fact the government didn’t discover this leak until after thousands of people had seen them, after they spread from Discord to Telegram to Twitter. The DOJ will definitely try to make Teixeira’s head roll, but the Pentagon has to be doing some headhunting of its own.
Whatever happens, this isn’t someone leaking documents as a service to the public. From all appearances, these leaks were motivated by a desire to win respect from online peers in a closed group. Not that it matters. An espionage prosecution doesn’t allow defendants to present public service arguments in their defense. And this case, unlike most we have covered here, doesn’t seem to have that crucial element that might justify the exposure of extremely sensitive information — especially information related to an invasion that has the possibility to result in nuclear weapon deployment and/or a Third World War. This wasn’t a selfless act. This was self-promotion.

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