By S.T. Patrick
Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old technology support staffer with the Massachusetts Air National Guard who had access to secret military files, has been arrested by the FBI for allegedly leaking classified documents on a private internet discussion forum called “Discord,” centered around video games. Teixeira posted hundreds of documents to his own online Discord server, “Thug Shaker Central.” The New York Times later reported on some of the documents—just before assisting the FBI, DOJ, and government-dependent private intelligence company Bellingcat in locating and outing the purported leaker of the documents.
The leaked documents paint a bleak picture of the situation in Ukraine. They confirm that U.S. special forces are active there, that the level of casualties is worse than previously acknowledge by the U.S. government, that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s forces are under-armed, and that the U.S. has engaged in covert spying on its own allies throughout the Ukrainian war to keep all parties in line. It was recently reported that Zelensky lost Bakhmut and in February he maintained his public push for more arms. Word that the situation has been turning Russia’s way has been prevalent in the independent media for months, but the leaked documents strongly confirm what the Western mainstream media has long denied.
The Washington Post joined The New York Times in outing Teixeira, and now they work in tandem to destroy his reputation to validate their actions against transparency. The Post called him “a young, charismatic gun enthusiast.” The Times described the Discord server as a place where “about 20 to 30 people, mostly young men and teenagers, came together over a shared love of guns, racist online memes, and video games.” The reader is expected to dislike him because he’s the elite media’s favorite archvillain, “the right-wing extremist.”
At this juncture, it is a high-level guessing game to pinpoint Teixeira’s motivation. The FBI held him in handcuffs before a public statement could be made. That hasn’t kept the media from guessing. The Guardian tossed out the idea that he, as a young American, was doing it for the clout it would bring him on social media. Nancy Jo Sales wrote, “Unlike with whistleblowers in the past such as Daniel Ellsberg (the Pentagon Papers) and Chelsea Manning (Wikileaks), neither ethics nor politics seem to have been the motivation for Teixeira’s alleged leak.”
Teixeira’s Discord group is a place where young men hang out online to discuss video games primarily. One group member, going by the screenname Vahki, told the media that Teixeira was “a Christian, anti-war, [and] just wanted to inform some of his friends about what’s going on.”
Members of the group have categorized Teixeira’s motivations as altruistic. As naively innocent as it sounds, he had access to important information that described a world very different to the one he and other Americans were being shown on the nightly news. He wanted to inform kids his age that they were being lied to and deceived. Friends describe this as genuine concern, not as seeking clout.
The role of the establishment press on the story is staggering. As Nikita Mazurov of “The Intercept” wrote, “A troubling trend has emerged: Journalists seem to be eagerly volunteering their efforts to help the Pentagon and Justice Department facilitate an investigation into the source of the leaks, with no discussion of the ethical ramifications.”
Mazurov’s thesis is that the Times and Post cooperated with the FBI and the DOJ out of jealousy—Teixeira shared the documents publicly rather than with “trusted reporters.” Yet, that ignores the fact that mainstream journalism has been rushing ever closer to being another wing of the U.S. government. When NPR and PBS were labeled “government-funded media” on Twitter, they left the app in a huff, denouncing the application of the label but never its truth.
At one point in the 1970s, American journalism schools were burgeoning due to the desire of 18-year-old writers to become “the next Woodward and Bernstein.” The two Washington Post reporters, the mainstream narrative said, had used a “heroic” FBI leaker to crack the case known as Watergate. Leakers were heroes to young journalism students then, and Bob Woodward served as the godfather of the practice of coddling leakers. Today, if the leakers are exposing information that contradicts elite journalism’s favored political narratives, which they take at face value from the political establishment, they become a target to be outed by the mainstream media and arrested by the intelligence agencies that work side-by-side with them. WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange was the first and most notable, but with the arrest of Teixeira, we now know he will not be the last.
Between the mainstream mass media, the U.S. government, and private intelligence companies working against the best interests of the American people, leakers and whistleblowers are no longer safe within the confines of the “Land of the Free” and the country where First Amendment freedoms are being eroded by a mudslide of totalitarian clampdowns. If you dare to work against the accepted narrative of the media-government-intel nexus, you will also be an enemy of the state.