The story of leaked secret documents of the American intelligence network reflects all the realities of the modern world.
The conflict in Ukraine, the actions of the U.S. intelligence services, modern technology, and the childish vanity of the scandal's protagonist were all woven into one tangle. But let's take it in order.
On April 13, American soldier Jack Teixeira was detained by FBI agents at his mother's house. The arrest was made in the best traditions of a Hollywood spy movie: a helicopter in the sky above the place of detention, FBI agents in full gear. Unfortunately, the protagonist, Teixeira, blurred the drama of his arrest: he turned out to be a skinny guy in bright red shorts.
And the detention itself was a bit farcical. The secret service, which had been following Jack for several days, decided to arrest him when they saw journalists from The New York Times drive up to his house. It turned out that the ubiquitous journalists were conducting their own investigation and were also on the trail of "spy number one."
And on April 14, Teixeira, who was charged with two counts of the Espionage Act, appeared in court. The sentence he faces is a serious one. If all of the leaked documents are treated as one, then ten years. And if each document is considered separately, it would be a sentence equal to life imprisonment.
It is also interesting how the U.S. intelligence agencies tracked Jack down. The FBI requested from the Discord platform, where the secret files were published, the payment details of the users of the closed chat room Thug Shaker Central. The New York Times journalists, on the other hand, went the more complicated route: having found chat room users, they figured out under what nickname the man was posting secret documents, and then it was a matter of technology: going into his accounts, they began to study the photos of his relatives and acquaintances in detail. And in one of the pictures, posted by his sister from his mother's apartment, they saw a granite table in the kitchen. Further, comparing this table with the one on which the photos of secret documents were posted, they came to the conclusion that it was the same table.
As we have written before, this whole story is phantasmagorical in its essence, with all the madness of the present time mixed in. Think about it. A man takes out secret materials and puts them out to be photographed on the kitchen table at home. And it is quite obvious that a completely unprofessional person, far from the security services, could have acted in this way.
So who is he - a 21-year-old guy, an American serviceman, not at all like ideological fighter Snowden, who exposed U.S. intelligence agencies that were spying on the whole world, nor an embedded mole agent - who has created an international scandal, perhaps the loudest in recent years?
In my opinion, he is a product of the modern world, where people at 21 act like 11-year-olds, perfectly aware of IT technology, but not much aware of the consequences of their actions.
His biography is typical of a small-town American boy. Jack Douglas Teixeira was born in North Dighton, Massachusetts. His parents divorced when he was young. A devout Catholic. Enjoyed riding his SUV and loved his two dogs. Supported the Boston Celtics basketball team. Since childhood, he was interested in all military related things, wore camouflage, and had a fondness for guns. It is written that he made racist and anti-Semitic remarks.
A typical biography of a backwoods American boy. No wonder he decided to follow his father's footsteps and become a military man. How could it be, The Washington Post wondered? It even expressed that amazement in its headline: "He’s from a military family — and allegedly leaked U.S. secrets." His whole family was connected to the military, his stepfather retired as a master sergeant, and his mother worked for non-profit organizations that helped veterans.
In 2020, he joined the U.S. Air National Guard as an IT specialist. The young man passed all background checks without any problems. After additional military and technical training, he enlisted in the 102nd Air National Guard Reconnaissance Wing in the "Cyber Transportation Systems Unit" in 2021, gaining security clearance. The unit's primary mission is to ensure the wing's information and communications systems run smoothly.
But the question remains: How did he gain access to classified documents given his own low level of security clearance? It is not yet clear what his security clearance level was, according to The Washington Post. But according to it, he may have had access to the internal network of the U.S. Department of Defense, which is used to exchange classified data.
So this story showed that an IT guy with a low security clearance can get into the holy of holies of the most sensitive areas.
So why did Teixeira, in a closed chat room of computer game lovers, where everyone was younger than him, and some were just schoolchildren, post photos of secret documents? What was his motive?
In my opinion, there are several reasons for this. The first is youthful vanity. Jack wanted to raise his own importance in their eyes, saying that he had something to do with the great mysteries, sought to enlighten them, telling them how things really are in the world. And he backed it up with secret documents for authenticity. Second, as a man of deep faith, he sincerely felt that there was an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, countries which, in his opinion, "could be good neighbors." And in general he found this conflict "depressing." And when chat participants expressed doubts about the authenticity of the documents, he posted more and more to confirm them.
Eventually their number reached 350. And all this was "brewing" inside their little chat room, until one of the members of this tiny online group posted a photo of the documents to another group with more subscribers. And then the information was shared, and a huge international scandal began.
And when Teixeira saw that the documents he had leaked were in the public domain, he got very scared and, as one of the members of their gamer group says, started praying that everything would be all right.
The situation is like a young boy, the son of a military officer, quietly taking his father's gun to impress his peers and earn prestige. And when this is discovered, he hides in the attic and begs to be spared. Just in case they don't punish him.
And now the whole world wonders, how reliable are the documents posted by Teixeira? Did the Egyptians really intend to supply shells to Russia or Serbia supplied them to Ukraine? Naturally, both countries deny it. How reliable is the information about the state of the Ukrainian armed forces, are they really going to attack in the directions indicated? Is it true that the Americans orchestrated protests against Netanyahu in order to force Israel to supply arms to Ukraine? Since there are hundreds of documents posted, there are even more questions. But, by the way, the U.S. itself has not yet claimed that all of this is pure fabrication.
More and more experts are inclined to the conclusion that, along with real documents, there are also purely fake ones. There is also a version that the U.S. intelligence services, having seen some of the real documents posted and taking advantage of the situation, started their own game, diluting them with fakes in order to confuse everyone.
But conspiracy theorists of all stripes think that Teixeira's arrest was just a cunning move of the American secret services, because it was very picturesque. And in fact it was just an attempt to cover up the leak of documents, which they themselves arranged to make the disinformation look plausible.