Audio Sources - Full Text Articles

A Steam profile, Instagram, and a kitchen table helped identify the 21-year-old accused of posting classified US intel online

Listen to this article
Members of law enforcement assemble on a road, Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Dighton, Massachusetts..Members of law enforcement assemble on a road, Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Dighton, Massachusetts.

AP Photo/Steven Senne

  • The New York Times identified Jack Teixeira, the man accused of leaking US intel online.
  • They used details like photos of a kitchen countertop and his gaming username to identify him.
  • Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old member the Massachusetts Air National Guard, was arrested on Thursday. 

Small details like the style of kitchen table and a gaming profile helped expose the suspect accused of leaking classified US intelligence from a house in rural Massachusetts.

FBI officers arrested 21-year-old Jack Teixeira, a Massachusetts Air National Guard member, on Thursday. He was due to be charged with removing or transmitting classified national-defense information, and faces a hefty prison term if convicted.

His arrest came after dozens of Pentagon documents were posted online, a striking breach in US information security which exposed secret details of the Ukrainian and Russian militaries.

The investigative outlet Bellingcat reported that the documents were first posted to Discord, an online messaging platform.

Before Teixeira’s arrest, he was identified by The New York Times, which used photographs of his childhood home and his online presence to connect him with the leak.

The Times said it looked at the private, gaming-themed Discord channel where the documents were leaked, called Thug Shaker Central.

The Times’ reporters said from there they found a profile on the gaming site Steam in Teixeira’s name, which led them to the social-media profiles of his family members.

That in turn gave them the information to confirm that the leaked documents had been in his family home in Dighton, a southern Massachusetts settlement less than 20 miles from Providence, Rhode Island.

Countertop photos

The Times said it found clues in a cache of documents containing that detailed Russian government infighting over the invasion of Ukraine.

Malachy Browne, a Times staffer who helped break the story, told CNN that these 27 documents were “photographed on a granite countertop, which was intriguing to us.”

Per The Times, “the same interior décor is visible in photographs of the family home posted online by one of Airman Teixeira’s immediate relatives.”

The Times reported that a photo posted by his sister showed “a kitchen countertop that appeared identical to the surface on which the classified documents were photographed.”

Christiaan Triebert, a reporter at The Times who helped with he story, wrote on Twitter that the corroborating image was on an Instagram page.

Browne also detailed to CNN about the hunt.

He said that relatives of  Teixeira “had family photographs online, including that granite countertop. And looking more closely you could see it was the same countertop, the same kitchen.”

CNN showed photos obtained by the Times that show a man in military clothing standing in a kitchen that has the same floor and the same countertop as the one in the photo of the leaked document.

Browne said they were able to identify Teixeira in part because the other gamers in the Discord group “provided personal information about the leaker, his habits, the fact that he was a gun enthusiast, exchanging equipment, some things about his personal beliefs, that they often shared racist memes in their private chat group.”

He said the Times also found information that he he was in the intelligence wing of the national guard in Massachusetts and he was promoted to first-class airman last July. 

“And according to one of the sources that we’ve been talking to he started leaking documents several months after that, into the Discord chat,” Browne said.

Read the original article on Business Insider
WP Radio
WP Radio