On Thursday, 21-year-old National Guardsman Jack Teixeira was arrested for leaking dozens of highly sensitive U.S. intelligence documents that contained critical information about the war in Ukraine and Chinese relations. Following the suspect’s identification, everyone is left to wonder how such a low-ranked officer could have obtained access to such sensitive information.
Teixeira worked as a cyber transport systems journeyman (CTSJ), which are the Air Force’s “frontline technicians and trainers.” CTSJs are charged with maintaining the military’s cyber networks which are used to securely send and receive highly sensitive information.
On the Air Force’s website, a description of this position is offered: “[CTSJs] enhance our capabilities and provide us with the best and most secure systems so we can stay ahead of the curve in everything we do.”
Pentagon spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder confirmed that, depending on the service member’s position, they “may require a security clearance.”
“If you are working in the intelligence community and you require a security clearance, you’re going to go through the proper vetting,” said Ryder.
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Therefore, it is possible that Teixeira required access to sensitive channels, and perhaps even the actual intelligence relating to the war in Ukraine.
Ryder also addressed how someone so young could have had a security clearance that would allow him access to sensitive intelligence documents, reminding everyone that the majority of U.S. service members are under the age of 30.
“We entrust our members with a lot of responsibility at a very early age,” said Ryder. “Think about a young combat platoon sergeant, and the responsibility and trust that we put into those individuals to lead troops into combat – that’s just one example across the board.”
It is also a possibility that Teixeira’s unit may have required him to have access to foreign intelligence. Teixeira worked with the Air National Guard’s 102nd Intelligence Wing, which provides intelligence for airmen in both domestic and foreign military efforts.
While it has not been confirmed, it is possible that the foreign military efforts could have included efforts to help Ukraine.
Teixeira is now being investigated for the “alleged unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information,” according to Attorney General Merrick Garland.
Marc Thiessen, former President George W. Bush’s chief speechwriter, spoke to Fox News about the leaked intelligence documents, calling it “treason.”
“The idea that a 21-year-old kid can expose sources and methods of how we spy, how we have penetrated the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, because apparently we’ve exposed the fact we know they have a new hypersonic missile that can reach the United States, that they exposed our penetration of the Russian Defense Ministry, that could affect the war in Ukraine. I mean, the incompetence is stunning,” said Thiessen.
“It wasn’t ideological,” he added. “It was some kid trying to show off to his friends in a gaming chat room and has literally affected global national security by doing so. How this happens is just beyond me.”