How 21-year-old National Guardsman Jack Teixeira could get sensitive Ukraine docs

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by Caitlin Doornbos at

WASHINGTON – Before the FBI announced it had arrested the suspected leaker of dozens of highly sensitive Ukraine war documents – some of which were created to brief the highest levels of the Pentagon – few would have suspected a 21-year-old National Guardsman as the potential culprit.

The FBI nabbed Massachusetts Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira at his mother’s home Thursday after he was implicated in the biggest national security breach in at least 10 years.

The junior airman is accused of uploading troves of secret and top secret documents to Discord, a social messaging platform for gamers, from which they were spread across several websites.

An airman 1st class, Teixeira held the lowest petty officer rank the Air Force grants enlisted troops.

His job – a cyber transport systems journeyman – would have had him working not in intelligence analysis, but with IT infrastructure.

So how could such a young, low-ranking troop have gotten access to so many critical secrets?

There are several possible explanations:

Some service members require security clearances as soon as they join the military, Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday.

“Depending on your position, you may require a security clearance,” Ryder said. “If you are working in the intelligence community and you require a security clearance, you’re going to go through the proper vetting,”

Even in his low position – just two ranks above newly enlisted airmen – Teixeira’s job specialty may have required a clearance.


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