Last Friday, an Air National Guardsman, Jack Teixeira, reportedly compromised US military intelligence by leaking classified briefing documents on social media. Teixeira allegedly shared the classified information on a chat platform called Discord to impress his online friends. Federal authorities arrested the 21-year-old guardsman on Thursday for his suspected role in the leak.
Teixeira is an airman first-class in the Massachusetts Air Force National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing. He lives in Dighton, Massachusetts, and is based in Cape Cod. Attorney General Merrick Garland noted that Teixeira was arrested without incident and that the guardsman surrendered to authorities without incident.
Leaking State Secrets
Teixeira is accused of leaking extremely sensitive state secrets he obtained from Pentagon briefing documents. The papers included troop information about Ukraine’s military, US military intelligence gathered on allies and enemies, and sources for several American spy programs.
When questioned about how a 21-year-old guardsman could access papers marked “top secret,” Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder said: “We entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age. Think about a young combat platoon sergeant and the responsibility and trust that we put into those individuals to lead troops into combat.”
The New York Times reported that Teixeira is accused of sharing the documents on a private Discord server titled “Thug Shaker Central.” Reports suggest that the server, a type of personal chat thread, contains “about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers,” who “came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes, and video games.”
The Times also spoke to Teixeira’s mother, who noted that the 21-year-old had recently changed his phone number and had started working overnight shifts at the Cape Cod base. Teixeira’s arrest was met with some controversy among members of Congress.
Marjorie Taylor Greene Defends Alleged Leaker
In a bizarre Tweet sent hours after Teixeira’s arrest, far-right Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene defended the guardsman and suggested he was an “enemy to the Biden regime” because he’s “white, male, Christian, and antiwar.” Greene’s statement oddly glosses over the severity of the crimes Teixeira is accused of.
Greene’s statements were also dramatically different in tone from those of her fellow Republicans, most of whom applauded law enforcement for pursuing the leaker and protecting US state secrets. Democrats roundly condemned Greene’s statements for seemingly glorifying domestic espionage–as long as it’s directed against a president you disagree with.