The Investigation into Jack Teixeira

DOJ has unsealed the arrest affidavit for Jack Teixeira.

It describes the following investigative steps (and leaves out the one that Bellingcat got to first):

April 9 [Not described]: Based on conversations with the guys involved, Aric Toler lays out how documents traveled from servers we now know were operated by Teixeira onto WowMao.

April 10: FBI interviews the user who cross-posted a document released by Teixeira (this may be Lucca), who provided information about how Teixeira had first leaked text, then leaked documents, as well as providing basic information about Teixeira.

On or about April 10, 2023, the FBI interviewed a user of Social Media Platform 1 (“User 1”). According to User 1, an individual using a particular username (the “Subject Username”) began posting what appeared to be classified information on Social Media Platform 1 in or about December 2022 on a specific server (“Server 1”) within Social Media Platform 1. According to User 1, the individual using the Subject Username was the administrator of Server 1. User 1 indicated that the purpose of Server 1 was to discuss geopolitical affairs and current and historical wars.

According to User 1, the individual using the Subject Username initially posted the Government Information as paragraphs of text. However, in or around January 2023, the Subject Username began posting photographs of documents on Server 1 that contained what appeared to be classification markings on official U.S. Government documents.


User 1 also described to the FBI his interactions with the individual posting under the Subject Username. In the course of those interactions, User 1 learned that the individual posting under the Subject Username called himself “Jack,” appeared to reside in Massachusetts, and claimed that he was in the United States Air National Guard (“USANG”). User 1 described the individual posting under the Subject Username as a white male who was clean-cut in appearance and between 20 and 30 years old.

April 12: Subpoena returns from Discord reveal that Teixeira registered the server in question under his own name, from his mom’s address, which is the same address the Air National Guard had for him.

According to these records, the individual using the Subject Username is the administrator of Server 1, the billing name associated with the Subject Username is “Jack Teixeira,” and the billing address associated with the Subject Username is a specific residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts. Teixeira listed the North Dighton, Massachusetts residence as his primary residence on employment paperwork with the USANG. On April 13, 2023 the FBI arrested TEIXEIRA at that residence in North Dighton, Massachusetts.

April 13: User1 gave a positive ID of Teixeira based on his driver’s license

On April 13, 2023, User 1 also identified TEIXEIRA’s Registry of Motor Vehicles photo from a photo lineup as the individual he knew as “Jack” who had posted Government Information under the Subject Username on Social Media Platform 1.

nd: OGA1 provides log files showing Teixeira printing out the single charged document the day before it got cross-posted.

The Government Document posted on Social Media Platform 1 was accessible to TEIXEIRA by virtue of his employment with USANG. According to a U.S. Government Agency, which has access to logs of certain documents TEIXEIRA accessed, TEIXEIRA accessed the Government Document in February 2023, approximately one day before User 1 reposted the information on the Internet. User 1 told the FBI that the information he reposted was originally posted on Server 1 by the individual using the Subject Username.

nd: OGA2 provides log files showing Teixeira searching for this leak investigation the day the leak was first reported.

In addition, according to a second U.S. Government Agency, which can monitor certain searches conducted on its classified networks, on April 6, 2023, TEIXEIRA used his government computer to search classified intelligence reporting for the word “leak.” The first public reporting regarding the Government Information appeared on or around April 6, 2023. Accordingly, there is reason to believe that TEIXEIRA was searching for classified reporting regarding the U.S. Intelligence Community’s assessment of the identity of the individual who transmitted classified national defense information, to include the Government Document.

Update: Spelling error of Teixeira fixed.


105 replies
  1. Doctor My Eyes says:

    Confused kid, easy to find and likely easy to convict. Am I alone in thinking the interesting and important story is wtf the government is doing with its highly classified docs? It would be foolish to assume that the Russians, Chinese and whoever else have not found and made quiet use of assets like him.

    Along the same lines, I keep wanting to see discussion of how Trump made off with so many documents leaving behind no record of a custodian saying, “Hey, I never got this back!”

    The Deep State, it seems, is shallow when it comes to opsec.

    • Golden Bough says:

      Whole heartedly agree. Especially after Individual 1’s escapades and subsequent discovery of Biden and Pence just taking documents that *should* have some sort of custodial chain to them, you’d think an overhaul or audit of the current TS/Classified doc protocol and how they are followed and enforced would have been in order.

    • smf88011 says:

      As someone that used to deal with classified documents on a daily basis, I can tell you that 90% of things that are classified are things you can read about in the newspaper or shouldn’t have been classified in the first place.

      As for what the government does with these highly classified documents, you have to trust someone with them. You need to clear someone to the level of data that they may be exposed to in the normal course of duties. An example was when I did the IT support function for a classified program that was “close hold”. I might not “need to know” about that program BUT because I had to support their systems, I was cleared for it as a matter of routine. If you hadn’t pre-cleared me for something in that program and you had a computer problem, I couldn’t go in and fix whatever issue you had, nor would it be timely to only clear me once the problem happened.

      As for specific people, people do make judgement errors. Sometimes it is the individual that is granted the access that is the problem and sometimes it is the person that granted that person their access in the first place. The human mind is a strange thing and who knows what could happen inside it.

      • KayKinMD says:

        (New 8 character name) Teixeira was IT so it seems likely that’s why he had access. As to why someone so unsuitable was able to be **granted** access, that probably has to do with his family. His stepfather and stepbrother both worked at the same base. His stepfather retired from the Intelligence wing, and I believe his stepbrother also works in that wing. Having watched members of my family go through security clearance, I know that a large part of it is interviewing family members and neighbors. We already know how those interviews probably went. And this is a kid who grew up in the intel culture.

        Certainly there need to be a LOT fewer classified documents. There needs to be more care taken with those documents that really need to be classified. And there probably needs to be more care taken, new procedures for who gets granted clearance.

        [Thanks for updating your username to meet the 8 letter minimum. /~Rayne]

    • Rugger_9 says:

      Definitely there needs to be an overhaul because there is no good reason an E-3 should ever be close to TSCA information. This is after the Handler and Assange leaks as well as Defendant-1, et al noted above.

      Why is DoD getting so slack? I don’t know, but I did see a report that the Army recruits are having a harder time completing basic training because they’re out of shape. Red-staters are worse than most. One wonders how much of that that is tied to curriculum and Internet stuff. So, it would seem that DoD is scraping down and not willing to spend money to protect this intel.

      It’s something DoD has done before, during W’s administration the standards for criminal conviction screening were relaxed because bodies were needed for Iraq. However, AFAIK there is no push to mobilize for the potential PRC invasion of Taiwan so the cause of this apparent desperation to go cheap escapes me.

      • RodMunch says:

        Definitely there needs to be an overhaul because there is no good reason an E-3 should ever be close to TSCA information.

        I don’t know what an E3 makes, but access to classified data has nothing to do with salary, rank, tenure, etc. “Need to know” is not really accurate. Do they need access to the information in order for them to do their job to support the mission? If so, then grant them access. If yes and they are a security risk, then find someone else.

        When I was working at the CIA, they had janitors walking around with their green colored badges. Yes, janitors can get TS-SCI access. One time I was supporting a program that was in a different compartment than the regular TSSCI program that was near universal in the CIA/NSA/NRO, etc. They had to hold up work because they realized they needed help and I was one of the few individuals that could do the job. They had about a dozen people from all over the place in town working when they made this discovery. So everyone went on a 3 day holiday while security reviewed my background investigation, did the paperwork, then read me in. One of the people working on the program pulled me aside and said although I was cleared, he asked me to look at the documents as little as possible because of the sensitivity/importance. He pointed towards a full bird Colonel emptying the kitchen trash can. Facilities don’t clean themselves after all.

        And neither Congress or the Intelligence Community is going to find an easy solution. Because if it were easy it would have been implemented 40 years ago.

    • RodMunch says:

      > and made quiet use of assets like him.

      Assets like him? No matter if you think Snowden, Assange, Winner are whistleblowers or traitors, Teixeira surely is neither. He released these documents to impress a bunch of internet randos — because he was lonely. He might even be an incel. I mean has many of the hallmarks of self proclaimed libertarians, and I suspect if you start blathering about Ruby Ridge/Waco to a young woman at a bar she’ll pretend to get an SMS, sidestep away rejoin her friends. Take a couple of incidents like that, throw in a pandemic to cause even further isolation, well online contact is better then nothing.

      How would the Russians/Chinese find “assets like him” if the intelligence community couldn’t identify him as risk?

      • emptywheel says:

        We don’t know what happened yet. That’s why the FBI hadn’t charged him yet, probably.

        But the Russians, especially, have prioritized trolling gaming servers for just the kind of easy pickings that Teixeira would have represented, if they found him.

      • Doctor My Eyes says:

        You assume a lot about what I mean by the phrase “assets like him”. I don’t know the guy, but I feel pretty confident in saying he’s young, confused, and prone to making poor life choices. God knows there are hundreds of flavors of 21-year-olds “like that” who would be ripe targets for varied reasons. I make no claim to know the specifics. My point is, who he is and what motivated him is one of the less important aspects to this story. There will be people like that. It is the job of the USG to avoid giving them( apparently) frequent, unsupervised access to highly classified documents.

        • ApacheTrout says:

          There’s no reason to believe he was ‘confused.’

          I have met enough kids from dominant religious and political upbringings to know they act righteously in their belief that Democrats are destroying *their* country. God, Family, Country is far more than a t-shirt meme.

          His motivations are common among many of these families that prioritize sending their kids into military service.

          As EW noted above, they are easy pickings for foreign intelligence. They are also recruitment targets for domestic groups like Three Percenters and Oathkeepers.

        • LaMissy! says:

          One of the provisions of the Patriot Act is that high schools must make available to military recruiters the contact information of all students, unless the parents opt out. I always was careful to point out this option to my students and their parents, because it’s often overlooked. In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, recruiters hung out any place young people gathered, trying to make their quotas.

          Perhaps, given all that we’ve learned about brain development in the past quarter century, it’s time to stop assuming 17, 18, 19, 20 – 25 year olds can be reliably counted upon in situations demanding good judgement.

        • posaune says:

          Good comment, DME. One thing that is apparent within this cohort of 18-21 year olds, is the impact of the pandemic. Most spent 2 years on zoom school, away from in-person interactions, bored at home, life immersed in their phones. There are tens of thousands of these kids out there, socially delayed, unable to connect to others, academically behind (some severely so), limited attention span and little to no executive function. The entire cohort needs to catch up in one way or another. Some entity somewhere needs to invest in remedial education on a large scale, be it (mandatory) community college or an extended military basic training. Very little will happen in the free market.

        • RipNoLonger says:

          I’m reading articles that say that apps like tiktok are state-sponsored – perhaps to give the state a chance to spread disinformation (isn’t that what facebook/etc. already do?)

          And that these apps lead to brain rot in idled minds caught in mothers’ basements.

          If so, we are way past 1984. I think it’s possible.

      • john gurley says:

        Russian intelligence apparently targets US military personnel on gaming sites and try to recruit them or tease intel out of them.

    • JAFA_NAL says:

      “Along the same lines, I keep wanting to see discussion of how Trump made off with so many documents leaving behind no record of a custodian saying, “Hey, I never got this back!”

      The Deep State, it seems, is shallow when it comes to opsec.”

      The local and state level libraries are very punctual with reminders for both digital and physical copies of borrowed books. Maybe someone with actual classified document handling experience can shed some light on why this seems beyond federal government agencies capabilities regarding classified document handling.

    • gertibird says:

      I don’t get this “confused kid” excuse for this 21 year old man. Twenty one is not a child. He swore to uphold our constitution and country before he was given access. This man is not stupid. He deliberately stole, copied then sneaked top secret classified documents out of a top security area knowing exactly what he was doing. There are no excuses. This man is going to jail and he should for a long time.

      • Bobby Gladd says:

        I slide by their side every day just to check out what’s happening. They sure think highly of themselves over at NC. I am in no way endorsing what they posted in that article.

        • phred says:

          I quit reading them years ago. They are extremely insular and their relentless habit of patting themselves on the back for their intellectual superiority was insufferably tedious.

        • Rugger_9 says:

          Worse than Thom Hartmann or Rachel Maddow (both are at least right some of the time if always tedious)?

      • Troutwaxer says:

        I just read the whole thing, plus the comments. Naked Capitalism has gotten a lot whackier over the last few years!

    • Spank Flaps says:

      As with any story like this, there are going to be multiple imaginative theories getting bandied around.
      Be prepared for stuff like Elvis, Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster to be involved.

      • Sandwichman says:

        Are you implying NC is NOT an actual RT source? Their guiding lights these days are Tucker Carlson and Matt Taibbi. Contrarianism is a slippery slope.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        I was a fan of Yves Smith’s Econned, her advocacy of Michael Hudson, and her evisceration of CalPERS corrupt management. But her site has long been a haven for admirers of Saints Greenwald, Taibbi, and Mate, a perspective that forfeits serious consideration of its views.

        • Bobby Gladd says:

          The voluminous Horan series on Uber was my fav. But, y’all are right. Of late, I find their scathing hatred of Ukraine & NATO irritating. NC it’s just long been in my bookmarks, so I continue to go there, but anymore, I only click on a very few of their headlines.

    • RodMunch says:

      The Post story was more Michael Lewis than journalism: too much like a screenplay treatment, few of the customary qualifiers about certainty of information, and far too many signs of official help, like the Post claiming it had seen 300 documents, yet not even providing any description their scope or even dates, or how it got to not just one but two members of OG’s group who recognized OG was in trouble yet were so willing to go into tell-all mode.

      Burying the lede, no? That’s precisely what that story left me wanting to know.

  2. Fancy Chicken says:

    So much about this boggles my mind. In my mind I can understand the logic of Reality Winner, Snowden and even Chelsea Manning which had some strong undercurrents that allowed him to be manipulated and therefore just scraping by as a whistleblower. But Mannings vulnerability has some parallels to this guy in Teixeira’s make believe world that the peeps on his server were so loyal it wasn’t possible for him to consider that one would of course be a choad and post his leaks to another server outside of his control.

    When you think about how Manning was manipulated by Adrian Lamo even before Assange got ahold of him, how young he was and dealing with gender dysphoria, and Teixeira being so young and naive enough to believe he had relationships of such depth and strength on a social media platform that he wouldn’t be betrayed by any of them in a matter of unbeliiiievable high stakes, there is something similar enough about the two’s emotional vulnerability that the intelligence community has got to up it’s game in how it vets people this young to have access to such critical intelligence and figuring out ways to firewall some of this data so that rando contractors and boys barely out of their teens can’t access it even with some form of security clearance doing IT work.

    I don’t know if anyone else sees the similarities between Manning and Teixeira- maybe what I see are also traits that make you vulnerable to being approached to spy (which Manning essentially was) against the US in general but it seems like there must be a way to screen for that vulnerability along with all the other information collected before someone can get a security clearance.

    • emptywheel says:

      Actually writing up something that nods to that.

      Tho to be clear: Lamo spoke to Manning after all or most of the leaks. Assange got to her first.

      • Fancy Chicken says:

        I need to apologize for misgendering Chelsey- I attended a number of days of her court martial and I suppose because I saw “Bradley” there is a break in my mind as to who went in to Ft. Leavenworth and who came out.

        And thanks for clearing up the Lamo/Assange timeline. I was diagnosed with cancer shortly after Manning was sentenced and chemoradiation really ate a lot of my memory from about 2011-2013. You, on the other hand have the memory of a steel trap and I’m glad for it!

        • emptywheel says:

          My chemo was 2002-3. SO I’m familiar with the experience. But I found the fuzzy brain useful for some stuff.

        • P J Evans says:

          True, it does make a good excuse – for a while. (2017-18. After that, there was still some, but it wasn’t the bad stuff.)

        • Obansgirl says:

          Yup. Survivor 6 years here. A slight fog and then back at it. In my case age is an asset and institutional knowledge and basic common sense is not being replaced in younger gens. Leads to some scary stuff in all sectors IMO.

        • P J Evans says:

          Yeah, I retired some years before that (and was mildly relieved to not get calls like “Help! What’s this?”), but I do keep an eye on the stuff that goes online, and I can tell that some of the people do not know what they’re doing.
          I had about 20 years worth of institutional knowledge, and had a rep for being able to *find* things. Like drawings showing pipe for which there are no orders in the file (I think it’s before they numbered them, which would be…before 1916), or following a pipe a hundred or so miles cross-country just so we know where it is, because it isn’t ours. And then there’s “What ID – oh, *that* ID. It’s not like the drawing shows, you have to look at the older ones referenced on in, because they f’ing drew it wrong…” (and yes, there is one just like that, and I know where it is, but the only good view is aerial, unless you drive to it.)

    • smf88011 says:

      Based upon what I have seen about this guys psyche, he probably shared it so people would think he matters in the world and/or get someone to appreciate him as an individual.

      • Rugger_9 says:

        It may be more simple than that. One of my more annoying irritants as a division officer was sailor talk to the bar girls overseas, where they would try to impress the ladies by lots of salad or by insider information. It was bad enough that going outbound on Westpac we could get the official cruise jackets at Olongapo City for the ports we’d be visiting. Olongapo is across the river from Subic Bay naval base (aka ‘Shit River’ from the water quality)

  3. Building Guy says:

    Hmm, let’s see:

    White Christian male?

    Into guns?

    Lives with mom?

    Hints of narcissism?

    Idealized violence?

    Nope, nothing to see here.

  4. phred says:

    EW, I have a quick question for you… per your April 12 item. Was he living at his mom’s house?

    I’m not up on the National Guard, but I had thought one leaves home for that sort of thing. Or is it more like the Reserves, where a person participates in the area where they already reside?

    If he never left home and presumably given his age he didn’t go to college, it makes it easier to understand the naivety argument.

    From what I’ve read he has had a Top Secret clearance since 2021, so 19 years old?

    I have to say the past year has really rattled my understanding of how our classification and clearance system works. Clearly, something is very wrong with the system.

    • Peterr says:

      The National Guard folks are attached to a local unit, living in their own homes (or their parents’ home). Like the Reserves, they may deploy for training purposes or be deployed for an active duty assignment, but by and large they are based at home. The National Guard has facilities and bases for their equipment (planes, tanks, armored personnel carriers, etc.) and offices, but they do not typically have “base housing” for all those attached to the unit.

      As for security clearances . . .

      There are plenty of 19 year olds who hold security clearances. A fair number of college students have internships with government agencies or government contractors that require clearances. Companies like Honeywell, Sandia, Lawrence Livermore, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Northrop Grumman recruit a bunch of interns who are studying engineering, computer science, math, physics, etc., and many of these positions require clearances. Other college students work with professors who have government grants on projects requiring a security clearance. Still others in fields like economics, political science, or history have government internships that require clearances — back in the day, I was one such intern with a security clearance, working at the State Department.

      I’m really tired of the breathless “OMG! What is a 19 year old doing with a security clearance?” from far too many media folks who ought to know better.

      (Not suggesting you think this way, phred, but I read your comment just as one voice on MSNBC was talking like this and had to vent.)

      • Rugger_9 says:

        Probably not TSCA, though, and where were the background checks with the follow up that is required to keep it? After Handler, Manning and Assange (etc.) that’s pretty serious malpractice to miss social media posts that almost all large companies will look at for job applicants now.

        That NG unit commander on down also have some explaining to do for their lack of supervision.

        • P J Evans says:

          Who TF missed that he was copying stuff (by hand, it sounded like) before he started *taking them home to photograph*? Shouldn’t they have better security than that?

        • bgThenNow says:

          I think workers w/clearance are not allowed to have a phone on them in the work area at Sandia (is it not still Sandia National Lab?)

      • Anna da Milano says:

        I had a secret clearance at 17: summer job in high school as a technical typist (this was before PCs) at a defense contractor.

      • phred says:

        LOL, no offense taken Peterr : )

        I very much appreciate the response. It may amuse you to know I had a clearance in my mid-20s, but it was low level. I had thought the TS stuff involved more senior people higher up the food chain, and therefore older. Definitely, my mistake : )

        I didn’t have time yesterday to follow up, but I’m reading through the comment thread carefully today, because it is clear to me that the way I thought things worked is different from the way they do work.

        And all of that said, 19 or not, the vast majority of 19 year olds don’t behave this way. I don’t think I was as clear as I should have been in my sentence on naivety. For me, that is what I find most galling, the people who assume he was confused or naive. I don’t see that. Most 19 year olds know better.

        From what I have read so far, I see a dangerous manipulative bully who was easy pickings for recruitment. I find it far more plausible that he was targeted for recruitment and fell for it, not out of naivety but out of malice.

        But it’s early going, we’ll see what the evidence shows as the story unfolds.

        • bmaz says:

          When you hit age 30 and need to be reapproved for clearance, I look forward to the visit from the FBI (seems to be mostly contractors now though). Should be a fun discussion!

        • P J Evans says:

          I worked at an electronics place where your basic level was “confidential”. Most people had “secret”. There were like two “top secret” clearances. You could identify clearance level by badge color – TS was gold.

    • wasD4v1d says:

      According to Juliette Kayyem writing in The Atlantic, who was for four years the overseer of the Mass ANG, there is no one on that base that needs the level of information available. Did no one notice such information was there except for a high school-educated incel living in his mom’s basement, who might have only stumbled across it while rebooting the office computer?

      • Hug h roonman says:

        Teixeira worked IT INFRASTRUCTURE at The Air Guard INTELLIGENCE Wing.

        During 35 yrs in Private Sector Investment Management there were increasingly stringent limitations for Employees (at all Levels) accessing Client Account Information, Trading Logs, Internal Portfolio Management Research Reports, Human Resources Files, Accounting Records, Legal Compliance etc. etc.

        EVERYTHING was Siloed.

        A close friendship with the Head of IT taught me there was one exception- The IT Department had access to EVERYTHING.

        That said, there was also a person in IT closely monitoring what all Employees, ESPECIALLY within IT, were looking at.
        (LIke an Internal Affairs Officer in Law Enforcement)

        Probably safe to assume other heads will roll besides Teixeira’s.

        • Peterr says:

          That’s the thing with IT – by definition, they have to have access to everything to be able to make the system work.

          In an academic setting, I had an administrative job where the four people who had access to every bit of sensitive/confidential information were the Dean, the Registrar, me, and the head of IT. Someone else whined about IT having access, and the other three of us just laughed. “Without IT, we have no academic records system.”

        • wasD4v1d says:

          As Kayyem – an expert on that base in particular – writes: that information is not needed by *anyone* at Otis. Moreover, sensitive data can be encrypted at rest. To reboot a stuck computer or install a new power supply, the IT guy does not need the keys to decrypt that data. It appears they thought to disable the USB ports, so why not do what my Mac does; encrypt sensitive data when not in use. I worked in a place you’ve heard of where sensitive data was on premises, and getting to that data required admission of two people, each with their own passkeys entered on separate pinpads, to enter the room where that data could be accessed, and both participants needed to be in that room – if one punched out, the system went dark.

      • pdaly says:

        Juliette Kayyem on her twitter account (and for CNN) also highlighted that when stationed with the Massachussetts Air National Guard Teixeira either could have been working at the state level (reports to Governor of MA) or could have beeen federalized and reporting to the Pentagon:

        “I think the big question now is who owned him. Is he in a state status? That means he’s essentially owned by the governor. Or is he in Title 10 status and I don’t mean to get technical here. It just means he’s owned by the Pentagon? Different statuses. Different problems.”

        • wasD4v1d says:

          Thanks for that. I see she updated her article though not the dateline. But it still comes down to ‘need to know’. He did not need access to that data (much of which, I tend to think, did not need classification and is available on Daily Kos, anyway). The governor or the Pentagon depend on a 19 year old high school kid for their security briefing? nfw. Kayyem in her updated piece added “We are a nation that grants almost indiscriminate access to high-level intelligence…we can fairly ask how the controls on highly sensitive information could be so lax.”

  5. Chetnolian says:

    I know I come from an old and worn-out ex Imperial country, but I still cannot get my mind round a system which, in any circumstances, can allow a very junior 20 year old nerd in a peripheral establishment to have any sort of access at all to such information. I sort of understood with Manning and Snowden how it might occur, though even then it showed a shocking absence of firewalls, but this?

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      I’ll take the federal courts over the OSA any day of the week. But you do have a woman in charge of GCHQ now, so your security is likely to become even better.

    • Peterr says:

      See my comment above about a 20 year old having a clearance, and let me add more here.

      Interns at places like the companies I mentioned above have to go through the full clearance process by the government, and the company has to attest to the “need to know” aspect of the intern’s work. These companies have a vested interest in making sure these interns behave with regard to clearances, because if an intern violates the security conditions, the company will take a big hit from the DOD, DOE, or whatever agency they work with. At worst, they could lose contracts or even the right to apply for any future contracts.

      Very junior folks work on classified projects, and need clearances to do so. They also need supervisors who watch over them, both to see that the work is being done right and that security regulations are being followed.

      A clearance is simply a general statement that the government has checked out this person’s background and there is no problem IN GENERAL with them having access to a given level of classified materials. The big kicker is the “need to know” aspect of the clearance process. Just having a TOP SECRET clearance doesn’t give you the right to see anything you want to; you also need to have a need to know.

      That, to me, is the likely problem in this case. Either no one was vetting his “need to know,” or he found a way around whatever protections there were.

      • rosalind says:

        be curious how far his vetting went past the “decades-long military career stepfather having served in the same intelligence unit”.

        • Peterr says:

          With new hires in their early 20s, the vetting is pretty basic. The general security clearance form asks things like “list every address that you have lived at for the last 30 years”, but there is a general instruction that says something like “If a question’s time frame goes back before your 18th (IIRC) birthday, you need only respond going back to that date.” Likewise, it asks about foreign travel and interactions with foreign government officials, but if you are 20 years old, there probably isn’t all that much. Trips, perhaps, but not so much on sitting down with government officials. Interns fill out the same security clearance forms as everyone else, but most interns have lots of “does not apply” answers to some of the questions.

          That makes it a lot easier for a young person to fill out the form than for someone getting a security clearance in their 50s. I’ve lived in a *lot* of places, and simply getting all my old addresses together would take me *quite* a while.

      • P J Evans says:

        I suspect there should also be more reviews the first couple of years. And more training on handling classified docs. (At my job, there were classes we got every year, and flunking them could easily cost you your job. Even if the class didn’t apply to your job, like intro to anti-trust law. But driver training kept me out of a couple of accidents.)

      • Thorvold says:

        These days things work in a kind of SSO (Single Sign On) model. If you have access to the “company” intranet, then you can get to all of the general websites that are there. Everything is monitored/logged to a certain degree and the browsers use PKI authentication so the sites know who is browsing to them. The website user is then checked against a central authorization service to see what data they are allowed to see. If the website is only checking that you have the Top Secret flag on your account, then you can look at all of articles that are there that are tagged as Top Secret or below. They have to have a certain level of trust that users on the network won’t go browsing around and looking at things that are not needed for their jobs, but they are not going to really closely monitor the Wikipedia equivalent to see what articles you are reading. It sounds like these were general briefing docs that had general markings rather than specific tags needing project specific access.

        • Thorvold says:

          The thing that I am kinda surprised they didn’t catch is his obviously rampant use of the printer (and then smuggling the printouts home). Randomized security searches when you are exiting the building is done at some locations for just this reason.

          These days, use of a printer is discouraged, and with COVID a lot of the meetings are held on-line and the documents stay on the computer, so there is not a need to print things out and take them to face-to-face meetings. At where I work, I have had to go turn the printer on when I want to print something because it is used so rarely.

        • emptywheel says:

          I agree. I expect the indictment will be more telling on that front, if he doesn’t cooperate right away.

        • Peterr says:

          So no “need to know” cross-check – just the clearance level?

          Well, there’s your problem . . .

          The whole point of a clearance regime is to get past “a certain level of trust” and require that a user demonstrate an actual need to know something.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          I believe the “need to know” requirement was lowered post-9/11 and hasn’t been strengthened.

        • Hormiguita says:

          > It sounds like these were general briefing docs that had general markings rather than specific tags needing project specific access.

          Not entirely. The classification line with the most entries I’ve seen is


          Back in the day (1970s – early 1980s) I had access to that stuff and can say that the markings, though relating to product rather than specific methods, are intended to protect product that could give an adversary a good hint as to methods.


          HCS-P is HUMINT Control System – Product. In its TS versions, it is applied to intelligence that is so detailed that it could only come from a small set of people.

          SI-G is Gamma-controlled signals intelligence product, what we would have had as TS UMBRA GAMMA. Again, it is so detailed that the content gives good clues as to where it came from.

          TK That’s the venerable Talent-Keyhole satellite imagery compartment. TS RUFF back then.

          FGI Foreign Government Information. Information officially provided by foreign friends.

          RSEN RUFF SENsitive, kind of analogous to SI-G, it’s satellite imagery that relates to special and, hopefully, non-obvious capabilities of imaging satellites.

          Most or all of those required separate authorization beyond just TS clearance. Getting “read in” was the term used for getting access.

        • Hormiguita says:

          On RSEN: These days it’s “Risk SENsitive”, but that’s because, AIUI, RUFF got dropped at some point but the category was still needed, so they changed R from Ruff to Risk. An elegant solution, no?

        • P J Evans says:

          Our workstations had network IDs, and at least some of us knew they were monitored. (It could be lots of “fun” when someone renamed the network printers, though. Finding out which ones were on your floor and could be accessed was a PITA.)

    • UnreasonablyReasonable says:

      tRump is almost 80 years old, and you can see how well he handles classified info. Age means nothing.

    • Mr. Knows Nothing, et. al. says:

      Wait till you find out that our land-based ICBMS are controlled by junior officers in their mid-20’s.

  6. pdaly says:

    I am assuming affidavits can follow arrests, but I don’t understand the details.
    I noticed the arrest affidavit for Teixeira is dated today 4/14/23, but he was taken into custody (arrested?) yesterday 4/13/23.

    Was his arrest yesterday based on an arrest warrant? a previous affidavit? the search warrant making him a suspect?

  7. DrStuartC says:

    Something just doesn’t smell right with any of this. So much just doesn’t hang together or make sense, and I’m not talking about top secret clearances at his age. Ok, they caught this kid pretty damn quick. Because a member of the discord group informed the FBI? Really? How old was that person? Do we know anything about them? Do you know a lot of, say, 23 y.o. kids into gaming enough to be on Discord, and get invited into a certain server, that would know a classified document when he or she sees it? And then, decide to call the FBI right away? I guess those things could happen that way. It just doesn’t seem very likely to me.

    Also, how is it that a young conservative person would be disclosing THESE particular 100 pages of top secret information, so beneficial to Putin because of their sensitivity, and so damaging, that it could disrupt relationships within NATO and other allies’ internal politics? Such well chosen, helpful-to-Russia documents? Why these, kid? So many questions.

    • Rugger_9 says:

      One of the things the USMC does is diplomatic security and they all train on Station 1 about dealing with honeypots and other snares waiting in the field. However that doesn’t mean it works. Several decades ago (the USSR was still around) a Marine guard to show off to his Russian girlfriend took her around the US Embassy and left her unsupervised in some sensitive spots. That got him a GCM IIRC.

      It’s about the protection cross-checks and FWIW, this is what happens when trying to cut costs for protecting the intel by reducing staff and reducing the qualifications.

    • Ginevra diBenci says:

      They caught him pretty damn quick? He started sharing stolen secrets in December 2022.

      Based on Teixeira’s gaming choices, I’m wondering if the FBI starts taking a look at sites where like-minded (militaristic, gun-obsessed, into war) types gather to connect with each other. We know they favor certain games. If I were Russian intelligence, that’s where I would look for human tools.

    • Troutwaxer says:

      Anyone can get on Discord, start a server, and issue invites. And it’s not remotely all gaming. (I’m currently on 7 Discord servers, four of which are defunct. The three remaining all have average ages well over 25.) And don’t assume that all gamers are kids. Lots of adults, well into their fifties, come home and spend a couple hours gaming. And here’s a hint about ages – I’m fifty-mumble and three of the four defunct servers I’m on relate to D&D campaigns which are over. The other defunct server was one I started myself to show someone else what discussing stuff on Discord could do for our charitable organization – I haven’t used it since that demo and we decided to go with something else (that doesn’t work as well.)

  8. AndTheSlithyToves says:

    Yesterday, Beau of the Fifth Column posted this interesting webcast sort of back-handedly connecting up the Teixeira leaks with Mr. Trump’s continuing “willful retention” and handling of classified documents. Thought it was an interesting concept.

    • emptywheel says:

      I think he overstates things.

      The specific questions about Trump’s interests are PROBABLY just an attempt to prepare stories about specific docs to be charged under 793.

  9. Bay State Librul says:

    Rugger_9 @ 4:40 PM

    Speaking of Thom Hartmann, he has a fascinating Podcast with Jeff Sharlet who just published Undertow.
    We are in for a scary future.
    As he references in his Prelude, “When you’re in the trough, it’s hard to see the crest of the next wave.”
    In other words, he goes on, “it is hard to see hope, but I could only think that what we see as we rise with the water is that the next wave will be bigger, and the one after that bigger still.”
    Cautionary tale indeed.

  10. harpie says:

    The Teixeira Disclosures and Systemic Problems in the U.S. Intelligence Community April 14, 2023 Brianna Rosen

    [Brianna Rosen (@rosen_br) is a Senior Fellow at Just Security and a Visiting Fellow of Practice at the Oxford Institute of Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict. She previously served for a decade in the U.S. government, including at the [Obama Administration] White House National Security Council and Office of the Vice President.]

    • FL Resister says:

      Thanks for posting that link.
      Among Ms. Rosen’s recommended questions:
      6. Why was Teixeira able to obtain a security clearance and pass required background checks despite holding anti-government and discriminatory views? Did he undergo a psychological evaluation as part of routine background checks?

  11. RodMunch says:

    So Glenn Greenwald (Guardian, Intercept, inter alias) thinks this is a government conspiracy, specifically by the Biden administration. He also says the media, specifically Washington Post is carrying the water for the government with their coverage. Larry Johnson (former CIA officer, talking head) says it’s all lies. Read about both from here

    [No. The rest of your comment was deleted and trash binned. Don’t waste my Saturday with shit by Glenn, Larry Johnson and Naked Capitalism. If you want to harp on somebody, I am bmaz, and I did it.]

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      As with everything Trump says, what Saints Greenwald, Taibbi, and Mate say can be boiled down to one or two sentences. It contributes nothing to rational debate to repeat or link to what they say. It only expands their reach and empowers them to say it more often, which is a disservice to sentient beings.

      • RodMunch says:

        I never said the Post was carrying their water. I was explaining what the article was claiming. And if Bmaz had edited my post half as carefully as s/he whined about wasting their Saturday, this might have been apparent.

        My point however, was the information in these documents, at least how the Post is portraying it, covers range of topics unlikely to be seen inside any SCIF. The subjects are so numerous that these docs look like something I’d imagine a Presidential Daily Brief to look like. I have never seen a PDB in my life, nor do I know how they compile information from many TSSCI classifications into a single document. Maybe there is some “super SCI” code word that encompasses everything under the sun. But if this existed, it’s extremely doubtful a 21 yo Airman is going to be given access. For something like this they would spend the money to hire a 40 yo IT worker just to get someone a bit older. But even the idea of this kind of information traveling through a Massachusetts ANG base is ridiculous.

        Edit. Yes. Really. New episodes streaming soon.

        • RodMunch says:

          Yes I’m, new. That’s why in my original post I was careful to say something along the like, “I don’t know who these people are, and don’t know if they’re credible.” And excuse me for being miffed, but in the future if you don’t want feedback, then don’t invite it.

          [Moderator’s note: You do NOT appear new. There are two other identities associated with the same address range — RosMunch and Ramona Rosario — which tends to make the moderation team suspicious. You may want to slow your roll until you have earned trust with the community. /~Rayne]

        • bmaz says:

          What??? If “you” do not want “feedback” at this blog, then don’t invite it. We have been here a while.

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