The man accused of posting classified information in a group chat agreed to provide information to a person who indicated they were a foreign national, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
It’s the case of Jack Teixeira, the 21-year old airman with an alleged penchant for fantasizing about mass shootings and a passing interest in international affairs.
Prosecutors cited messages in a Wednesday filing between Teixeira and an unnamed user on Discord, the messaging platform on which Teixiera allegedly dropped hundreds of government documents containing classified information.
In the chats, Teixeira alternates between using his Air Force intelligence position as a way to brag online and showing solicitousness to his online correspondent.
But what’s critical here is that the unnamed user that’s corresponding with Teixeira indicates he does not live in the U.S. The filing alleges that the Discord servers Teixeira used “had at least 150 unique users, some of whom represented that they lived in foreign countries, and some of whom used foreign IP addresses.”
It all opens up potentially deeper counterintelligence concerns around the already gaping problems involved with Teixeira allegedly posting the information on an internet forum.
In the alleged exchange, detailed by an FBI agent in the court filing and dated Nov. 15, 2022, Teixeira wrote that he worked in “airforce intel.”
His unnamed interlocutor replies, then, with the following:
User: Would have been nice
User: If you alerted us that a drone was heading to crash in the middle of a suburb of our capital?
Teixeira: We did
Teixeira: Just not that simple
Prosecutors didn’t include the full context of the exchange, and appear to have removed certain portions. It’s not clear what the user was referring to when he wrote about a drone crash in the “suburb of our capital.”
But the unnamed user pressed on, remarking that the “official government statement was nobody said shit.”
Teixeira immediately projected knowledge and awareness that his correspondent was not in the U.S., saying that the statement was what he expected to see.
“My gov would have done the same downplay strategy,” he wrote.
“What is a ts network,” the user replied, referencing an earlier statement by Teixeira that he had been reading “a TS network.”
“Top secret,” Teixeira responded.
From there, the user asked Teixeira “what is being said now about this loose ukrainian missile?” On Nov. 15, the day of the exchange, a Ukrainian air defense missile reportedly hit a tractor in eastern Poland, prompting a period of confusion as officials and the press tried to identify whether or not the strike was intentional, and whether it came from Russia or Ukraine.
Teixeira indicated in his reply that he would be in touch, saying that he was out with COVID but that “When I do get back however I will let u know.”
Members of the forum have told journalists that Teixeira offered to research information that interested them, and prosecutors have said in earlier filings that Teixeira offered to use his security clearance to access information in response to requests from users of the forum.
Whether the other users were relatively innocuous gamers and online trolls who happened to be from other countries, or state actors, remains unanswered in the filings.
But prosecutors also said that officers at Otis Air National Guard Base on Cape Cod, where Teixeira was stationed, were warned several times to stop “deep diving” and copying classified information.
In one September 2022 incident, Teixeira was purportedly seen taking notes on classified information before putting the notes in his pocket. He was warned to stop, the filing says, before an October incident in which Teixeira allegedly asked “very specific questions.” That was enough to arouse attention; the day after the incident, Teixeira was asked if he was continuing to “deep dive” into classified information, before being let off with another warning.
Finally, in January 2023, yet another Air Force official noticed that Teixeira was viewing intelligence records that were unrelated to his job.
Records that Teixeira allegedly posted began to make their way onto the public internet in March.