Pentagon leaks: what do US ‘secret’ and classified documents say about Ukraine - who is Jack Teixeira?

Jack Teixeira in a photo posted on social media / Facebook. Jack Teixeira in a photo posted on social media / Facebook.
Jack Teixeira in a photo posted on social media / Facebook. | Jack Teixeira in a photo posted on social media / Facebook.
Highly-classified US military documents about the war in Ukraine and other national security issues are alleged to have been leaked online by a National Guard employee

Jack Teixeira, the man suspected of leaking highly-classified US military documents online, has been indicted by a federal grand jury after classified Pentagon documents were leaked online.

The 21-year-old Air Force National Guardsman is accused of being responsible for the leak of secret Pentagon documents, which contained confidential information about the war in Ukraine and other national security issues. He was arrested by the FBI at his family home in Dighton, Massachusetts, on Thursday (13 April).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He faces six counts of retention and transmission of classified documents relating to national defence, according to the US Department of Justice.

Teixeira, who remains in custody, has been accused of sharing the files in a chat group made up of around 20 - 30 young men, on online gaming site Discord. Attorney general Merrick Garland said: “As laid out in the indictment, Jack Teixeira was entrusted by the United States government with access to classified national defence information – including information that reasonably could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to national security if shared.”

He added: “Teixeira is charged with sharing information with users on a social media platform he knew were not entitled to receive it. In doing so, he is alleged to have violated US law and endangered our national security.”

Reports suggest that as many as 100 confidential documents may have been leaked, divulging information on a number of topics including the Ukraine War and Russia, Israel, and South Korea. Questions have as a result been raised over the security of US classified information, and there are concerns that the release of information could weaken Ukraine's position against Russia.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ukrainian officials met to discuss the possible ramifications of the leaks and preventative measures going forward, while the Pentagon said it will re-examine how classified information is distributed. However, a spokesperson did add that it was “the nature” of the US military to entrust young service members with high levels of responsibility.

One US official also told The Times: “Officials within the US government with security clearance often receive such documents through daily emails, and those emails might then be automatically forwarded to other people.”

So what information did the leaks reveal, what has been said, and who exactly is Jack Teixeira? Here’s everything we know so far.

Who is Jack Teixeira?

Jack Teixeira is a 21-year-old young man from rural Dighton. He joined the National Guard in 2019, according to reports, and held the relatively junior position of “cyber transport systems specialist” within the intelligence wing of the branch in Massachussets.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is unclear what level of security clearance Teixeira had, but as per the job description on the US Airforce website, he needed to have completed “a current Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI). Other qualifications included:

  • Knowledge of electronic and network principles
  • Normal colour vision
  • Possession of a state driver’s license to operate government motor vehicles
  • Experience in installation of voice, data and video network infrastructure
  • Completion of 7.5 weeks of Basic Military Training
  • Must be between the ages of 17 and 39

According to the New York Times, he was the leading figure in an invitation-only, online gaming chat group set up during the height of the pandemic, called ‘Thug Shaker Central’. The group contained about 20 - 30 young men, who reportedly shared an interest in guns, racist memes, and video games.

Teixeira’s age has been said to make him an unusual suspect, with his motives also unclear currently. According to the BBC, while the 21-year-old is said to have harboured a scepticism of government, friends said he was neither a whistleblower nor a foreign agent.

Officials in the US previously said they had not ruled out pro-Russian motives for leaking the information.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Eddy Souza, a 22-year-old man who said he went to school with Teixeira, told Reuters he was surprised his former classmate had been identified as the suspect in the leaks. “He’s a good kid, not a troublemaker, just a quiet guy,” Mr Souza said. “It sounds like it was a stupid kid’s mistake.”

Unverified leaked documents from the Pentagon have detailed the state of Ukraine's air defences. (Credit: Getty Images)Unverified leaked documents from the Pentagon have detailed the state of Ukraine's air defences. (Credit: Getty Images)
Unverified leaked documents from the Pentagon have detailed the state of Ukraine's air defences. (Credit: Getty Images) | AFP via Getty Images

What did the leaked Pentagon documents reveal about the war in Ukraine?

The biggest piece of information learned from the documents was that Ukraine's air defences could be close to running out of ammunition and missiles in the war-torn country’s fight against Russia. In the documents, the country's Soviet-era S-300 air defence systems are said to be on track to run out of ammunition by 2 May.

Ukraine's Buk air defence systems were also predicted to be in trouble by mid-April. Air defence systems overseeing the protection of front line troops could be "completely reduced" by 23 May.

However, the 'secret' documents leaked were dated 23 February. It is unknown whether intelligence since this date has been updated.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Colonel Yuri Ihnat, a spokesman for the Ukrainian Air Force, said: “If we lose the battle for the skies, the consequences for Ukraine will be very serious. This is not the time to procrastinate.”

A newly released document also claimed that the UK defence ministry has deployed elite forces to Ukraine. The document, which was dated 23 March, claimed that there are currently 50 special forces officers from the UK serving in Ukraine alongside Western special forces, including 17 Latvian members of military personnel, 15 from France, 14 from the US, and one from the Netherlands.

A statement from the UK Ministry of Defence said: "The widely reported leak of alleged classified US information has demonstrated a serious level of inaccuracy. Readers should be cautious about taking at face value allegations that have the potential to spread disinformation."

What else did the classified files reveal?

The war in Ukraine was not the only topic mentioned within the leaked correspondence. Information on Israel was also leaked, with a CIA intel update from 1 March detailing the movements of the Mossad intelligence agency around protests against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Widespread protests have been taking place across Israel in recent months against both Netanyahu and the government's plans to overhaul the country's judicial system.

Intel, which was labelled as 'top secret' showed that the Mossad intelligence agency in Israel was encouraging the protests against Netanyahu. A statement from the Prime Minister's office said: “The Mossad and its serving senior personnel have not engaged in the issue of the demonstrations at all and are dedicated to the value of service to the state that has guided the Mossad since its founding.”

Another piece of vital information leaked includes claims that the US tried to spy on South Korea, specifically senior officials involved in an arms deal. This included gathering intelligence on internal discussions which discussed the possible use of South Korean artillery shells in Ukraine if sold on by the US.

Speaking to the New York Times, Park Hong-keun, flood leader of the Democratic Party in South Korea, said: “If the report is true, it would be an action that can never be acceptable between allies of 70 years, and an infringement of sovereignty and diplomatic foul play that breaks bilateral trust head-on.” Seoul urged US officials to swiftly verify the validity of the documents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What has the US said about the Pentagon papers leak?

Michael Mulroy, a former senior Pentagon official, confirmed from the outset that the Pentagon believed the source of the leak to be from the US. He told Reuters: “The focus is on this being a US leak, as many of the documents were only in US hands."

A criminal investigation has been opened by the US after the Pentagon referred the incident to the Department of Justice. It has been reported that the US has not ruled out that some information in the documents may be doctored to obscure their origin, but the Pentagon is yet to directly address any of the information covered in the documents.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.