Who is Jack Teixeira, who allegedly disclosed classified information for months? : NPR
Jack Teixeira, who is accused of posting top-secret Pentagon documents on social media, made his initial court appearance in the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts on Friday.
The 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard faces two felony charges: the unauthorized retention and transmission of national defense information and the unauthorized removal and retention of ‘ classified documents or material.
The investigation began last week after a small number of classified documents were leaked on Twitter and Telegram. The documents included sensitive details about the war in Ukraine as well as wiretapping by intelligence agencies on world leaders.
Here’s what we know about it:
Teixeira comes from a military family and works in IT
Teixeira lives in North Dighton, Mass., about 50 miles south of Boston.
According to the charging documents, Teixeira has worked in the 102nd Intelligence Wing based at Otis Air Force Base in Cape Cod, Mass., since May 2022. Teixeira’s passing and passing appear to have worked in the same military base.
Since February, Teixeira has been a cyber transportation systems worker — similar to an information technology specialist — for the National Guard.
Teixeira’s unit provides worldwide intelligence in support of combat and internal security. Teixeira was granted “top secret security clearance” in 2021, meaning he had signed a “lifetime binding non-disclosure agreement” acknowledging that leaking protected information could result in criminal charges, according to the federal complaint.
It is not the first time that a person with an IT background has been suspected of leaking classified information. Edward Snowden, who released many documents from the National Security Agency in 2013, was then a federal contractor and systems administrator in Hawaii. Generally, IT professionals have access to a range of records and servers in order to fix technical problems.
After the recent leak, the Pentagon said they are reevaluating who has access to these types of files.
Teixeira allegedly disclosed classified information for the past five months
According to court documents, a social media user suspected to be Teixeira began releasing classified information in “paragraphs of text” on an undisclosed social media platform as early as December 2022.
The charging documents confirm that Teixeira posted the documents in a private channel on a social media platform although it did not specifically identify him. But according to posts by his friends on social media seen by NPR, Teixeira posted the classified documents in a group chat on the Discord platform.
Initially, the purpose of the disclosure of secret information was to “discuss current and historical geopolitical affairs and wars,” the federal complaint said.
But since January, the online user started posting photos of what appeared to be official US government documents with classification marks. Among the photographed documents was the status of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, including troop movements on a particular date.
The leaker later explained to another user that he was worried he would get in trouble for “making test transcripts at work” so he started taking the documents to his residence and taking r -their photos, another online user known to have interacted with the leaker told the FBI.
Teixeira’s online friends were fascinated by Orthodox Catholicism, guns and racist memes
NPR found that many users of the Discord channel where Teixeira leaked information were fascinated by Orthodox Catholicism, guns, as well as racist and vile memes.
Meanwhile, the founder of the channel used a profile picture of Terry Davis, a computer programmer who suffered from schizophrenia and talked about hearing God’s voice.
His friends said Teixeira did not intend for the documents to spread beyond their chat, but at least one of those friends posted them on other Discord servers.
Teixeira posted the documents through a social media account he signed up to using his real name and credit card information, according to charging documents.
On Discord, users can “boost” the channels they manage by making monthly payments, which allow them to get better streaming quality and other advantages such as access to additional emojis.