Leaked U.S. files jumped from online spats to global breach through pro-Russia account run by U.S. Navy vet

Jake Teixeira
(Image credit: Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images)

Federal agents arrested Jack Teixeira, a junior intelligence officer in the Massachusetts Air National Guard, on Friday for allegedly stealing classified intelligence from the Pentagon and CIA and posting it to a Discord chat room he administered. But members of Teixeira's small, invitation-only server insist he never meant for the photographed files to be seen beyond the 20 or so young acolytes he was trying to instruct in global geopolitics from December 2022 until Teixeira deleted the server on April 7, when they had become a serious global breach of U.S. national security.

The files' path from Teixeira's Thug Shaker Central server to the front page of newspapers winds through a pair of slightly larger Discord servers to 4Chan then pro-Russian social media and Twitter, The Guardian details. On March 1, a Thug Shaker Central member called "Lucca" posted them on a server focused on the Filipino YouTuber Wow Mao. Another user grabbed them from there and posted them on a Minecraft-centric server during a brief April 4 argument on Minecraft and the Ukraine war, typing: "here, have some leaked documents."

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.