GRU and Pentagon leaks | Teixeira made racial remarks | Teixeira researched mass shootings
FBI #FBI: This confirms my thesis that mass shootings, espionage, and gaming chart rooms are closely related: "US document leak suspect destroyed evidence, researched mass shootings, prosecutors say" - reuters.com/legal/us-prosecu… 📷The News And Times - thenewsandtimes.com: "Mass Killings, Espionage, And The Online Gaming Chats: Recruitment, Training, Influencing, Manipulations" - 4.15.23 Teixeira researched mass shootings - Google Search shar.es/afOMQc
US document leak suspect destroyed evidence, researched mass shootings - prosecutors ino.to/IWlebuR
Prosecutors accused Jack Teixeira of trying to fecklessly cover up his actions and described a possible propensity toward violence.
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WASHINGTON — Jack Teixeira, the Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of posting classified documents online, repeatedly tried to obstruct federal investigators and has a “troubling” history of making racist and violent remarks, Justice Department lawyers said in a court filing late Wednesday.
In an 18-page memo, released before a detention hearing scheduled for Thursday in a Massachusetts federal court, the department’s lawyers argued that Airman Teixeira needed to be detained indefinitely because he posed a “serious flight risk” and might still have information that would be of “tremendous value to hostile nation states.”
Airman Teixeira tapped into vast reservoirs of sensitive information, an amount that “far exceeds what has been publicly disclosed” so far, they wrote.
Prosecutors pointedly questioned Airman Teixeira’s overall state of mind, disclosing that he was suspended from high school in 2018 for alarming comments about the use of Molotov cocktails and other weapons, and trawled the internet for information about mass shootings. He engaged in “regular discussions about violence and murder” on the same social media platform, Discord, that he used to post classified information, the filing said, and he surrounded his bed at his parents’ house with firearms and tactical gear.
Airman Teixeira was also prone to making “racial threats,” prosecutors said.
This behavior — so disturbing it was flagged by local police when he applied for firearms identification card — is certain to raise new questions about how Airman Teixeira obtained a top-secret security clearance that gave him access to some of the country’s most sensitive intelligence reports.
In arguing for his confinement, prosecutors described a panicky, feckless effort by Airman Teixeira to cover up his actions as law enforcement closed in, including telling a member of a chat group to “delete all messages,” and instructing a user to stonewall investigators.
He also tried to destroy evidence, prosecutors said. The filing includes a series of photos of electronic equipment, including a tablet and an Xbox console, that he hurriedly smashed, then tossed in a dumpster near his home in North Dighton, Mass., before his arrest this month. A witness told the government that he threw his phone out the window of his truck as he was driving.
“These efforts appeared calculated to delay or prevent the government from gaining a full understanding of the seriousness and scale of his conduct,” the department wrote. “Any promise by the defendant to stay home or to refrain from compounding the harm that he has already caused is worth no more than his broken promises to protect classified national defense information.”
Airman Teixeira’s court-appointed lawyer did not immediately return an email seeking comment.
Airman Teixeira was arrested on April 13, and charged with two separate counts related to the unauthorized handling of classified materials. The government has yet to indict him before a grand jury, although prosecutors said in their filing on Wednesday that he could face 25 years — “and potentially far more” — in prison if convicted.
In a preliminary complaint unsealed after he was taken into custody, Airman Teixeira was accused of abusing his top secret clearance with an intelligence unit on Cape Cod to post documents bearing restrictive classification markings to a 50-member chat group on Discord.
Shortly before signing off in March, Airman Teixeira told a member of the small group he “was very happy” to share intelligence very few people get to see and solicited requests for information they wanted him to post, prosecutors said late Wednesday.
The material, some obtained through keyword searches of government files, was eventually distributed more widely. The trove of documents made public revealed the access Western intelligence agencies have to internal Kremlin deliberations, while baring concerns of the strained U.S.-led alliance trying to contain Russian aggression without prompting a wider conflict.
Last week, The New York Times reported that Airman Teixeira, who worked as a computer network specialist, had been sharing sensitive information far earlier than previously known and to a much larger group. According to online posts reviewed by The Times, he had begun doing so in February 2022, within 48 hours of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, to a chat group of about 600 members.
On Wednesday, prosecutors confirmed that report, writing that he “began to access hundreds of classified documents” unrelated to his job starting in February 2022.
The filing provided little insight into what prompted Airman Teixeira to leak internal U.S. intelligence assessments, but it cast his actions, which had previously been seen as mainly motivated by his desire to show off to younger friends online, in a somewhat darker light.
Investigators found a small arsenal in his bedroom at the house he shared with his mother and stepfather. Inside a gun locker two feet from his bed, law enforcement officials found multiple weapons, including handguns, bolt-action rifles, shotguns, an AK-style high-capacity weapon and a gas mask. F.B.I. special agents also found ammunition, tactical pouches and what appeared to be a silencer-style accessory in his desk drawer.
Prosecutors also made public a series of social media posts from 2022 and 2023 in which Airman Teixeira expressed his desire to kill a “ton of people” and cull the “weak minded,” and described what he called an “assassination van” that would cruise around killing people in a “crowded urban or suburban environment.”
How Airman Teixeira obtained the documents that he is accused of posting online has been a critical question for investigators. They believe he used administrator privileges connected to his role as an information technology specialist to retrieve the documents. In his posts, Airman Teixeira said his job gave him access to material that others could not see. “The job I have lets me get privilege’s above most intel guys,” he wrote.
Airman Teixeira had been scheduled for a detention hearing in federal court in Boston earlier this month. But his lawyer, Brendan Kelley, requested more time to address the government’s arguments, and the magistrate judge, David. H. Hennessey, quickly agreed.
The next major step is likely to be the filing of a grand jury indictment, which would include a much more detailed narrative of the allegations against Airman Teixeira, including a more specific accounting of the charges he will face.
Worcester, a city 50 miles west of Boston, is where Judge Hennessey’s courtroom is based. But the case will eventually be assigned to a federal judge in Boston, assuming it is not moved out of Massachusetts entirely, which remains a possibility, according to people with knowledge of the situation.
Officials at the Justice Department have considered asking that the case be moved to the Eastern District of Virginia, because its jurisdiction includes the Pentagon, and its lawyers have extensive experience in investigating such cases.
But it is not clear that the federal judges in Massachusetts, where Airman Teixeira lived and worked, will be willing to do so, and the U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Rachael S. Rollins, a Biden appointee, believes her office is capable of handling the matter, people familiar with the situation said.
Asked about the case this week, Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen was noncommittal.
“It is currently being prosecuted and venued in the District of Massachusetts in Boston,” Mr. Olsen said, declining to comment further.
Airman Jack Teixeira is expected to face a court hearing on Thursday, hours after prosecutors accused him of seeking to obstruct investigators and having a history of violent and racist remarks.
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WASHINGTON — Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guardsman accused of posting classified documents about the war in Ukraine on social media, is expected to appear in a Massachusetts federal court on Thursday, hours after the government said in a memo that he continued to be a national security risk.
The filing shed new light on the government’s case against Airman Teixeira, as lawyers for the Justice Department wrote that he had repeatedly sought to obstruct investigators, had a history of violent and racist remarks — and possessed a knowledge of U.S. intelligence that made him a prime target for a hostile foreign power.
The hearing for Airman Teixeira, who was arrested April 13 on two separate counts related to the unauthorized handling and publication of classified materials, had been scheduled for federal court in Boston earlier this month. But his lawyer, Brendan Kelley, requested more time to address the government’s arguments, and the magistrate judge, David. H. Hennessey, quickly agreed.
Prosecutors often reveal new details of their case at detention hearings, but only enough information to argue that the defendant is a potential flight risk. The information disclosed late Wednesday was an exception — it sought to portray Airman Teixeira as violent and racist as well as an unpredictable threat.
The hearing, however, is just a preliminary step. The Justice Department is expected to follow up with an indictment before a grand jury as prosectors hash out logistics, like whether to request a potential change of venue closer to Washington.
Here’s what we know about the case.
Neither prosecutors nor national security officials yet know the full extent of the intelligence taken from the U.S. government’s classified systems. The material posted online primarily includes slides about the war in Ukraine created by the intelligence directorate of the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. But there is also highly classified material from the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency and other spy agencies.
Many of the dozens of documents that have emerged so far are snapshots in time — bits of intelligence or overviews of the battlefield in Ukraine compiled on a particular day. But some of the material provides a level of detail about the strengths and weaknesses of the Russian and Ukrainian forces that American officials have been reluctant to discuss.
The documents were first posted to Thug Shaker Central, a small group on Discord, a social media platform popular among gamers. They were later shared more widely, and some were altered and reposted on other social media.
Although the charges against Airman Teixeira pertain to the documents released to Thug Shaker Central, an investigation by The New York Times found that he apparently shared sensitive intelligence to a larger group on Discord months before that.
The government’s filing late Wednesday confirmed that, but also suggested that he had access to much more information than has been made public so far.
Airman Teixeira worked as an information technology specialist and had administrative privileges on classified computer systems that appear to have allowed him access to a wide range of material, including briefing slides. But investigators are also trying to learn if he might have collected the material using less technologically sophisticated methods.
That seems to be the case: Prosecutors now say he conducted hundreds of keyword searches on government computers, and even asked members of his chat group what information they wanted him to retrieve.
The answer to that question will depend somewhat on what investigators learn about how he got access to this material. For now, intelligence agencies are not curbing their sharing of documents with the Pentagon. President Biden has ordered the Pentagon to limit the distribution of sensitive information, however. The Pentagon has also announced that it would review procedures across the Defense Department for using and securing the nation’s secrets.
Both the F.B.I. and news reporters found him in much the same way: by interviewing other members of Discord.
The members of the Thug Shaker Central Discord server who spoke with The New York Times did not reveal Airman Teixeira’s identity. But they shared some details about him, and reporters were able to find people on other video game forums connected to the known members of Thug Shaker Central, including Airman Teixeira.
To be sure, the F.B.I. found him first. But investigators must go through legal hurdles, like obtaining court approval for a search warrant. The Times had a chance to knock on Airman Teixeira’s door a few hours before F.B.I. agents arrived to search his home.
Airman Teixeira’s case bears some resemblance to other relatively recent leak cases in which people connected to the military or a spy agency used their access to acquire sensitive documents and posted them online or gave them to the news media.
But Chelsea Manning, who gave documents to WikiLeaks, and Reality Winner and Edward Snowden, who provided documents to the news media and other organizations, were trying to bring attention to things they thought the public needed to know. Airman Teixeira is accused of sharing documents with a small group of acquaintances, rather than trying to reveal them to the wider public.
Justice Department officials have been considering whether to ask the court to move the case to the Eastern District of Virginia, a court where both prosecutors and public defenders have extensive experience handling cases involving classified secrets. While Airman Teixeira is accused of taking the documents from a military base in Massachusetts, much of that material was originally created by the Pentagon, which is in the Eastern District.
That issue is still under consideration, even though prosecutors with the U.S. attorney’s office in Massachusetts favor trying Airman Teixeira in Boston, according to people familiar with the situation.
Maya Shwayder contributed reporting.
A U.S. Air National Guardsman accused of leaking classified military documents has a history of making violent threats, used his government computer to research mass shootings, and tried to destroy evidence of his crimes, federal prosecutors said on Wednesday.
In a 48-page filing, the Justice Department said 21-year-old Jack Teixeira should be detained pending trial, saying his violent rhetoric coupled with his apparent efforts to destroy evidence "compound his risk of flight and dangerousness."
Prosecutors will present their arguments in favor of detention to a U.S. magistrate judge in Worcester, Massachusetts, on Thursday afternoon.
Teixeira's lawyers have not commented on the case, and are expected to argue at Thursday's hearing that he should not be detained pre-trial.
The filing, which also contained photos of the suspect's bedroom from the FBI's search of his home, said that in July of 2022 he used his government computer to look up famous mass shootings using search terms such as "Uvalde," "Ruby Ridge" and "Las Vegas shooting."
During the search at his home, the FBI found a smashed tablet computer, a laptop and a gaming console inside a dumpster. In addition, prosecutors said they had unearthed evidence that Teixeira instructed other online users to "delete all messages."
Teixeira was charged earlier this month with one count of violating the Espionage Act related to the unlawful copying and transmitting of sensitive defense material, and a second charge related to the unlawful removal of defense material to an unauthorized location.
If convicted, prosecutors said he faces up to 25 years in prison.
The leaked documents at the heart of the investigation are believed to be the most serious U.S. security breach since more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables appeared on the WikiLeaks website in 2010. The Pentagon has called the leak a "deliberate, criminal act."
Prosecutors said in their detention memo that Teixeira in February 2022 began accessing hundreds of classified documents not relevant to his job, and started posting some of the classified information on social media around December 2022.
"The damage the defendant has already caused to the U.S. national security is immense. The damage the defendant is still capable of causing is extraordinary," the memo says.
The classified documents provided a wide variety of highly classified information on allies and adversaries, with details ranging from Ukraine's air defenses to Israel's Mossad spy agency.
Apart from the evidence that Teixeira tried to obstruct evidence and influence witnesses in the case, prosecutors said he has a troubled history dating back to his teenage years.
When he was 18, they said, his firearms identification card application was denied due to remarks he made while still in high school related to "weapons, including Molotov cocktails, guns at the school, and racial threats."
He also made violent comments about murder on social media, including one post in November 2022 saying that if he could, he would "kill a ton of people" because it would be "culling the weak minded."
On Feb. 10, 2023, Teixeira sought advice from a user about what type of rifle would be easy to operate from the back of a parked SUV against a "target on a sidewalk or porch," according to the filing.
Prosecutors said they also found evidence that Teixeira admitted to others online that the information he was posting was classified.
In an exchange of chatroom messages included in the filing, Teixeira was asked whether the information he was posting was classified.
He responded: "Everything that ive been telling u guys up to this point has been."
In Wednesday's filing, prosecutors said: "There is no condition of release that can be set that will reasonably assure his future appearance at court proceedings or the safety of the community ... He should be detained."
It’s our periodic DOJ Report Card episode, in which 3 stalwart DOJ-experts provide an insider’s perspective on the goings-on at the Department. NY Times Reporter Katie Benner joins deeply experienced former DOJ alumns Paul Fishman, Andrew Weissmann, and Harry to suss out questions such as will Jack Smith decide to indict Trump and what exactly would happen next; what is the current state of play b/t DOJ and FBI; and can and will the Department become involved in the Clarence Thomas embroglio.
On Monday, April 17, the feds announced the arrest of two men on charges that they helped set up a secret police outpost in New York City on behalf of the Chinese government. More than three dozen officers with China's national police force were also charged with using social media to harass pro-democracy, anticommunist Chinese inside the United States.
Nicholas Eftimiades, a former CIA, Pentagon and State Department expert on Chinese espionage, tells SpyTalk that the busts were long overdue.
“I know there are certain arrests that were made months ago that the FBI was told about 10 years ago,” Eftimiades told me in this week’s SpyTalk podcast. “I grant that sometimes these investigations take time….and that the Bureau may in fact not have known about” that particular secret police outpost prior to research and investigations done by private groups last year, he said. But “they have moved aggressively on it since that time.”
The Chinese secret police, specifically, the 12th Bureau of the Ministry of State Security, has “been working against dissidents, democracy advocates, religious organizations and nonprofits abroad for decades,” Eftimiades said, “not only in the United States, but globally for decades with the communist party hunting people.”
Meanwhile, China is not the only authoritarian state spying on and harassing dissidents here. Our so-called friends do it, too.
“Egypt and Saudi Arabia, both U.S. allies, use threats, physical surveillance, hostage-taking and prosecutions to try to silence dissidents and rights activists on U.S. soil, according to evidence presented in a report released this week, The Washington Post’s Claire Parker reported on Wednesday.
The report came from the Freedom Initiative, a nonprofit rights organization founded by Egyptian American advocate Mohamed Soltan, Parker wrote. The group found that “Cairo and Riyadh have ‘become more innovative and emboldened’ in carrying out transnational repression — the targeting of critics abroad,” Parker reported.
Last July, SpyTalk reported on how Egyptian, Chinese, Russian, Cuban, Turkish and Israeli agents were constantly seeking to develop sources in U.S. state and local police to help them track down dissidents here. And they too often succeed in finding police officers willing to betray their oaths.
Hear more about China’s covert ops to harass dissidents here on the SpyTalk podcast, via our home at MSW Media or wherever you typically listen. And do leave a comment. We love to hear from our listeners.
SpyTalk is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
The Wagner Group is a name that seems to be coming up a lot lately, whether it’s in connection with the war in Ukraine or the fighting in Sudan. Today on “Post Reports,” reporter Greg Miller unpacks the origins of this mercenary network and its growth fueling instability around the world.
The Wagner Group operated in the shadows for years, its network of mercenary forces aiding the Russian government in military operations in places such as Ukraine.
In the time since, the Wagner Group has expanded and morphed well-beyond Russia’s borders, fueling instability and helping autocrats maintain or challenge power through disinformation campaigns and building up their military.
But according to newly leaked U.S. intelligence documents, the Wagner Group is becoming even more “nefarious,” Greg Miller, an international investigative reporter, tells “Post Reports.”
“It's actually trying to destabilize parts of Africa so that then it can again back Russia’s preferred and favored candidates,” as it seeks to further gain wealth and resources of its own, Miller explains.
Wagner Group surges in Africa as U.S. influence fades, leak reveals.
Russian mercenaries are closely linked with Sudan’s warring generals.
What is the Wagner Group, the Russian mercenary outfit in Ukraine?