How Did Jack Teixeira Gain Access to the Documents He Leaked, and Why Were MSM Stories About Him Stealth-Edited?

Massachusetts AIr National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, accused of classified document leak. CREDIT: Simon Ateba, Twitter

The big story Thursday was the arrest of 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard who allegedly leaked more than 100 pages of classified documents that exposed extremely sensitive information from the Pentagon regarding Ukraine, Russia, China, Israel, and documents produced by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency.


That story changed markedly through the day, though, and the sparse information we have about Teixeira raised major questions about how he could have possibly had access to such a wide-ranging tranche of information, why what was finally reported as the true story was so different from what had been published earlier, and who was pushing the disinformation?

In addition, the way it all went down, with the New York Times beating the FBI to Teixeira, raised eyebrows, especially given that they were the first outlet to report on the leak, just a week ago. Who was their source for the stories?

When the story first appeared Reuters claimed – based on anonymous sources – that Russia was behind it.

Russia or pro-Russian elements are likely behind the leak of several classified U.S. military documents posted on social media that offer a partial, month-old snapshot of the war in Ukraine, three U.S. officials told Reuters on Friday.

The documents appear to have been altered to lower the number of casualties suffered by Russian forces, the U.S. officials said, adding their assessments were informal and separate from an investigation into the leak itself.

For days after that there was no real speculation until the Washington Post published an exclusive interview Wednesday night with a teenage boy who was part of the Discord server where the documents were posted. The teenager said that the leaker went by the screen name O.G., and that he was probably in his mid-20s, in the military, and worked on a military base.


Despite reports Thursday morning that the leaker worked at Fort Bragg, NC (more on that below), it turns out that Teixeira worked at Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts. Otis is located on Joint Base Cape Cod and is the home of the 102nd Intelligence Wing.

Teixeira is an Airman First Class (E3) and his job title is cyber transport systems journeyman – working with IT infrastructure, not analyzing intelligence. According to Jennifer Griffin at Fox News, he has a TS/SCI security clearance. Obviously, he would have access to classified information and documents given his job, but there are documents in the leak that someone in his position should not have had. Mere possession of a security clearance doesn’t equal legal access to all documents/information that exist at that level of classification. He also would have needed to know the information to perform his job duties.

As I referenced earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday morning that investigators believed that the leaker was based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, at the time of the leak. After the Pentagon briefing and arrest, the story was significantly changed. From the original:

Investigators believe the leak of purported highly classified documents on Ukraine and dozens of other subjects likely originated from an Air National Guardsman who was based at Fort Bragg at the time of the leak, U.S. officials said, and an arrest could be made as early as Thursday.


The “updated” story made no reference to Fort Bragg, nor was there any note that significant changes had been made to it.

Curiously, an NBC News story about the imminent arrest and then the actual arrest was changed several times. The initial story read:

Officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said that officials have been tracking Teixeira for some time and that an arrest is imminent.

Screenshot from NBC News story on DOD leaked documents investigation, April 13, 2023.

The next version omitted Teixeira’s name and changed the characterization from “tracking” to “onto him.”

Officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said they have been onto him for some time and that an arrest is imminent.

The current version (archived link here) deletes that sentence entirely.

Who told NBC News that they’d been tracking Teixeira for some time? NBC claims that the sources were part of the investigation. Was it an FBI source or a Pentagon source? These questions need to be answered.

More than an hour after the arrest, Gordon Lawson, a former Navy officer who was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency, referenced Teixeira working at Fort Bragg in an appearance with Neil Cavuto.

He said:

“Especially if you’re in an intelligence role, you’re in that secure facility and you may have access to those computer systems. Now, I think this one had some human source intelligence that was well beyond what someone of this rank and responsibility should have. That could have been due to where he was assigned. I believe he was at Fort Bragg, which obviously has some sensitive commands there with Special Operations Command.”


Meanwhile, the Fayetteville Observer reports that Fort Bragg officials have stated that Teixeira never served at Fort Bragg and was never affiliated with any unit on Fort Bragg, which houses the Joint Special Operations Command.

An official at Fort Bragg late Thursday issued a statement saying a Massachusetts Air National guardsman accused of leaking classified documents does not appear to have served at Fort Bragg. Initial media reports suggested he worked at the military installation in North Carolina.

“After exhausting efforts across the organizations on our installation, we are unable to confirm that Jack Teixeira had any service history or has been affiliated with any unit on Fort Bragg,” Maj. Matt Visser, spokesman for the 18th Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg said.

Who was telling the Wall Street Journal that Teixeira had a connection to Fort Bragg? In this case, it doesn’t really matter given the unit Teixeira was attached to, but WSJ has deep connections in the military intelligence community and doesn’t generally publish information that’s so easily and quickly disproven.

Who was telling Reuters that Russia was behind the leak? Why?

The changing stories, with no acknowledgment of or explanation for the changes, are likely part of an effort to distract from the elephant in the room. When reporters repeatedly confronted the Pentagon spokesperson with questions about how a 21-year-old, low-level enlisted airman had access to the scope of information that he apparently had access to, and how he could get more than 100 documents out of a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility), he answered by saying that they’re examining information distribution lists and that they had the rules in place and Teixeira broke the rules, so they shouldn’t be held responsible. That’s unacceptable.


As Marc Thiessen said, “the incompetence is stunning.”

“The idea that a 21-year-old kid can expose sources and methods of how we spy, how we have penetrated the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, because apparently we’ve exposed the fact we know they have a new hypersonic missile that can reach the United States, that they exposed our penetration of the Russian Defense Ministry, that could affect the war in Ukraine. I mean, the incompetence is stunning.”

And, Sean Duffy wondered if anyone in the command structure is going to be disciplined.

“What general is going to lose their job? Which general is at fault for national security to make sure you can’t breach into the Pentagon and get this highly classified information?… The problem with this administration is no one is held accountable. Someone has to lose their job. I mean, again, this guy should go to prison, but we have real problems in the Pentagon. And I don’t think the administration wants to look inside to go, who is the problem? Who else do we have to bring in to make sure our secrets are safe?”

A possibility that needs to be considered is that Teixeira was given many of the documents by someone else who did have access to them, and who wanted them to be leaked. Former congressional candidate Joe Kent, a combat veteran himself, made some points on Twitter that we should all be paying attention to – and which journalists should keep in mind more often. Kent wrote (emphasis mine):


The most important part of evaluating a source is to determine their access- how do they know what they know? If they can’t plausibly explain it & prove it, but they are giving u good intel, it’s being given to u for a reason. A cyber transport systems tech E-3 is not given access to sensitive information pertaining to NATO partners, Israel etc. even with a top secret clearance. The JCS docs, maybe, but that too is a stretch. Teixeira needs to explain how he obtained the leaked information, step by step. There’s either much more to the story or we have major holes in our systems. Post Manning/Snowden I find that hard to believe based on my time in the intel community.

I’m not saying Teixeira is innocent, he likely leaked something, but how did he get ahold of information that is highly sensitive & compartmentalized. The media’s man hunt & the WaPo’s intel mouth piece Shane Harris of Russian bounties fame, breaking the story also leads me to question the narrative.

Yes, Teixeira needs to explain exactly how he obtained the information, but investigators should be able to figure that out without his cooperation by examining data already possessed by DOJ, FBI, DOD, and our various intelligence agencies, in addition to Teixeira’s devices. If they can’t, we have a major problem.

What is the likelihood that we, the American public, will ever know how Teixeira got the information? I’m not going to hold my breath, but a lack of full transparency on this issue will destroy any remnants of confidence in our military leadership and intelligence community that remain.




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