The first question is “how.” How was a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman able to gain access to and expose highly classified military and intelligence information? Next, there’s “what.” What did Airman 1st Class Jack Douglas Teixeira write to his teenage buddies on the gaming board “Thug Shaker Central?”
We will have to wait for a psychiatric report that will reveal Teixeira’s lonely, sad life and his need for attention. Military counterintelligence experts continue to sift through evidence in order to answer the question “What.”
The shocking truth, however, is that an Air National Guard member of low rank was able to take hundreds of pictures of classified documents. He then posted them to the Discord server in a private room.
New York Times:
The materials that Airman Teixeira was accused of sharing showed how deeply U.S. intelligence agencies and their allies had penetrated the Russian government. They were able to give Ukrainians near-real-time information about Russian attacks.
The documents also revealed that the American spy services were listening in on the leaders of Ukraine, Israel, and South Korea. These embarrassing revelations could undermine trust at a moment when Washington is trying to present a united front against Moscow.
The Russian government takes great measures to ensure that U.S. signals spy agencies cannot listen to military conversations. At the start of the war, stupid Russian soldiers used their cell phones for communication. Even after being told not to do so, even as late as January they still died for their stupidity.
It is not enough to have intelligence from the battlefield. Intelligence from the military headquarters that gives Ukraine real-time updates on Russian attacks suggests there is a Russian spy. Teixeira may have put the person or persons in danger because he wanted to impress his friends online. This kind of intelligence is almost certain to be compartmentalized. Therefore, Russian counterintelligence would know exactly who had the information.
Our allies may pretend to be outraged, but they are gathering the same type of information on us. Everyone knows how to play the game.
Teixeira was trying to impress his friends but, in the process, he attracted a 17-year-old boy who had no idea what dynamite the teenager posted.
The documents would have remained in Thug Shaker Central if it weren’t for Lucca, a 17-year-old Californian who may not have understood the seriousness of the documents that he was given access.
Lucca published several dozen documents that were uploaded to Thug Shaker Central in the #War-Posting public Discord group on March 2.
The documents circulated in chat groups for a month. One was popular among players of the online video game Minecraft, and another with fans of a British YouTuber who is moderately well-known. The documents went unnoticed until early April when they began to appear on Telegram channels for supporters of Russia’s conflict against Ukraine.
It was only a question of time once the documents reached Telegram. The New York Times was notified of the posting and this led to a blockbuster news story.
According to the Times article, Teixeira had the documents in his possession and took them away from the airbase he was assigned. The Times found a photo on his sister’s Facebook page that was “identical to the kitchen counter where the classified documents had been photographed.”
This story still has a lot of unpacking to do in terms of what was revealed and how it occurred. Anyone expecting some sort of superspy or super-spy to be responsible for the biggest intelligence coup in history will undoubtedly be disappointed when they learn that it was actually a 21-year-old gamer and National Guard Airman.