“We still don’t know who this person was talking to outside of the Discord server, and if he had any other motive for leaking the documents beyond wanting to impress friends,” said a fourth person – a former US intelligence official.
Mick Mulroy, a former Pentagon official and retired CIA officer, said it is standard practice for investigators to look into suspected ties to foreign governments and companies, particularly in cases of leaks. He noted that Defense Department and CIA employees must disclose any “close and continuous” contact with foreigners.
If they find any foreign links, it means the leak could be more damaging than believed. This could indicate that it was planned by a foreign government or that foreign officials had access to the materials before public knowledge.
A foreign link could open Teixeira up to higher fees.
So far, Teixeira has been charged with “unauthorized possession and transfer of national security information” and “unauthorized disposal and retention of classified documents or materials.” Each charge is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.
According to court documents, Teixeira violated two sections of the Espionage Act. If the government establishes probable cause, it could add another charge to Teixeira A separate section of the Act It involves gathering or providing security information to assist a foreign government.
That is unlikely to happen at this stage, said a former US intelligence official.
The Justice Department is leading the investigation into Teixeira. The Pentagon and intelligence agencies are also investigating the breach.
The Department of Defense closely monitors any employee’s activity on the Joint Global Intelligence Communications System, a secure intranet system that contains confidential and sensitive information, including what information is accessed, downloaded and printed.
The Pentagon is also reviewing Teixeira’s records, including his security clearance, as part of the investigation, a person familiar with the investigation said. DoD hopes the review will help determine whether changes should be made to procedures related to access to classified documents, the person said.
Teixeira is an IT specialist assigned to the 102nd Intelligence Division, giving him access to the computers of analysts who package intelligence for senior military commanders, the fifth person, a Defense Department official, said.
The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment. The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence did not respond to a request for comment.
Some press reports in recent days suggested that people from other countries were members of the original server where Teixeira allegedly posted the documents. However, others have rejected this claim. In An interview with The Washington PostOne of Teixeira’s friends said it was “pure fiction” that the server’s members were Russians or Ukrainians.
Another step The Washington Post reportsUsers who interacted with Teixeira on Discord, the social media site where the documents appeared, thought he posted the material partly to educate them about how the US government operates in the world and partly to show off his reach.
Understanding Teixeira’s motivation is important for the government in determining how to prevent future spills like this.
Teixeira’s alleged leak differs from past intelligence breaches, including those by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks. Instead of packaging and filtering the documents, Teixeira was accused of disseminating them on social media, and did not appear to disclose intelligence resulting from a particular ideology.
Teixeira allegedly posted the documents on a Discord server last year. In recent weeks, a member of that server posted them to a second Discord group before they began to spread widely across other social media sites, including Telegram and Twitter.
The leaked documents include unusual details about troop and battlefield movements in both Ukraine and Moscow, as well as other global issues such as advancing Iran’s nuclear program, protests in Israel and China’s relationship with Russia. They also expose the extent to which the US spies on its enemies and allies.
While POLITICO and other media outlets have obtained and reviewed more than 50 classified documents, there are likely dozens more that have not been publicly posted on social media. The Washington Post and The New York Times have exposed it Many of those documents In recent days.
According to a document reviewed by POLITICO, at least one of the documents posted to Telegram appears to have been altered to include a higher Ukrainian and lower Russian death toll. It is not known who changed the documents.
A woman who recently completed enlisted service in the US Navy told the Wall Street Journal He oversaw the Telegram channel through which the altered documents were published. The woman, 37-year-old Sarah Bills, had previously posted pro-Russian content on social media but had not redacted the classified document. He also told the Journal that he removed the documents from the channel once he noticed they were posted.
In an email to POLITICO, Bills said: “I did not leak the documents and I had no part in them. You are asking the wrong company. [The documents] Never in my possession.”
Although Bills’ link to the circulation of the classified documents on other social media sites raises questions about her possible involvement in their alteration, there is no apparent connection between the former sailor and Teixeira.