This time, it’s not former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden who has handed over thousands of documents to journalists that show how the US government spies on its own citizens. Not Chelsea Manning, the military analyst who became a key source for WikiLeaks and its secret US diplomatic cables. This time, eyes are on Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old boy who runs the Discord server and shares the information he’s gleaned from his job at the airport for months with members of his virtual community. 2020s typical leak of top secret files.
The latest scandal to hit the intelligence community in the US includes the release of classified documents dealing with the war in Ukraine, data on Russian and Ukrainian casualty numbers and analysis of Ukraine’s security. As has become known in recent days, the files contain references to South Korea and Taiwan, as well as other points of interest for US geopolitics. This is one of the most spectacular leaks in recent years. Something no one has been able to explain yet.
For now, the official answer is Teixeira’s arrest last Thursday. It was live for all the television cameras that wanted to show how the FBI came to a home in Titan, Massachusetts and took this Air National Guard employee. According to US Attorney General Merrick Garland, the arrest was “in connection with an investigation into the alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transfer of national security information.”
Without further details from the US government, was The Washington Post The alleged origin was reconstructed last week Now the information is circulating in different corners of the internet. Teixeira, according to the American newspaper, “was a charismatic young weapons enthusiast who shared highly classified documents with a group of acquaintances.”
The group, according to this reconstruction, consisted of about twenty teenagers or young adults who, during the pandemic, decided to join a server on Discord, a social site popular among online video game players. It is in this small virtual community that its leader, who The Washington Post Referred to as “OG”, he started sharing secret things.
OG, Step The New York TimesThis is Teixeira. According to a New York newspaper account, the documents began to attract more attention when one of the teenagers who were part of the group shared a portion of the files on a public online forum. From there they moved to Russian-language Telegram channels, which are widely used to send information in Eastern European countries.
In his work, Teixeira accessed not only a class of classified material, but also an internal security department network that transmitted classified information. But even with this reconstruction, no one has yet been able to explain how these secret documents managed to circulate on different sites for months without anyone noticing.
Surprised by the leak, the White House remains cautious. On the one hand, he does not dare to confirm the authenticity of all the documents. This week, Biden was in Ireland and Northern Ireland as the Pentagon and Justice Department tried to find the person behind the leak and conduct an investigation to review the documents. He traveled to commemorate the 25th anniversary of peace accords in the region.
From his tour, the president praised the “swift action of security forces in investigating and responding to recently released classified documents from the US government.” In a statement, he said that while his administration was still “determining the validity of these documents,” he had already instructed the military and intelligence community to “take steps to protect and control the distribution of sensitive information.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre rehearsed a response in which she tried to shift blame for the leak and spread on social media. “We believe that social media companies have a responsibility to their users and the country to manage the private sector infrastructure they have built and now operate. So we think they have a responsibility,” he said when asked if the Pentagon should review how its employees behave online.
The government is already talking about “mitigating the impact” the leak could have on the national security of the country and its allies. In this way, the White House is pursuing a damage control strategy. “Our national security team coordinates closely with our partners and allies,” Biden said. Without giving many details, the White House administration said it was now engaged in “very high-level” talks with “relevant” allies. Meanwhile, the Defense Department and the intelligence community say they are reviewing access and their procedures to see how to make sure these types of “incidents” don’t happen again.
This is not only information about the security situation in Ukraine, but also documents indicating the extent to which the United States is interested and involved in the war. The files, based on intelligence sources, show above all how the North American country spies on its own allies: Israel, with allegations of Mossad’s role in protests against Benjamin Netanyahu’s government; South Korea amid negotiations for Seoul to send weapons to Ukraine. According to US media, the intelligence community was privy to four Chinese spy balloons, including the one shot down by the Pentagon last February. is there Taiwan analysis They consider the island too vulnerable to a Chinese attack from the air, a possibility that has haunted the United States since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The documents cover different topics, regions and allies, but they all have one thing in common: they are extremely timely. They all refer to current conflicts or concerns in America. According to a reconstruction by American media, Teixeira’s main motivation was precisely to help inform members of his online group about what was happening in the world. According to some members, he briefed on foreign policy matters and covert operations of the government The Washington Post.
This reason, if verified at trial, would be far removed from the reasons for other historical spills in the United States, but is consistent with the spirit of the times. For now, that’s the only explanation for the spread of the files, but it’s not clear how the 21-year-old posted the content without anyone knowing about it for months.
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