NATIONAL NEWS

Man arrested in connection with intel leak: ‘Actions speak louder than words’

Apr 14, 2023, 3:43 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm

Jack Teixeira was arrested in Massachusetts without incident, Attorney General Merrick Garland said...

Jack Teixeira was arrested in Massachusetts without incident, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, and will be arraigned in federal court there. (Instagram)

(Instagram)

(CNN) — Three years ago, before he was granted top secret clearance by the US government and entrusted with highly sensitive eyes-only information intended for officials in the Pentagon, graduating high school senior Jack Teixeira chose the following motto for his yearbook: “Actions speak louder than words.”

The phrase appeared next to a photo of Teixeira, who had already enlisted in the Massachusetts Air National Guard.

Today, of course, those words appear prophetic. The 21-year-old was formally charged Friday in federal court in Boston with being the source of a massive leak of national defense information and other classified documents.

The charges were baffling to some who grew up with Teixeira.

“I could never have foreseen him doing that,” said John Powell, a former high school classmate.

As federal authorities continue their criminal probe of Teixeira, CNN interviewed more than a half dozen former classmates of the suspect who offered insights that contribute to an emerging portrait of the young man at the center of the leak investigation. Teixeira grew up in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, according to public records and graduated from Dighton-Rehoboth High School in neighboring Massachusetts in 2020.

Most students interviewed by CNN described Teixeira as an odd kid who seemed obsessed with guns, the military and war. He toted around a “dictionary-sized” book on firearms and another about “tanks, planes and submarines,” former classmates said. But some others said he made them feel uneasy. He made comments some perceived as racist and showed up for school after the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas wearing a shirt emblazoned with an AR-15.

“A lot of people were wary of him,” said Brooke Cleathero, a former classmate in both high school and middle school.

Another former classmate said his behavior did not rise to the level where people felt the need to report him, but “he made me nervous.”

According to a probable cause affidavit unsealed Friday, investigators believe Teixeira posted national defense information and other classified documents on a social media platform. Though the platform is not specified in the affidavit it has been identified by media outlets, including CNN, as Discord. Teixera had access to the documents as part of his job in cyber defense operations with the Air National Guard for which he would have had to sign a “lifetime binding non-disclosure agreement,” the affidavit stated.

FBI agents interviewed at least one person who said a young man later identified as Teixeira began posting “what appeared to be classified information” on a server in December. The unidentified source told agents the server was intended to “discuss geopolitical affairs and current and historical wars.”

According to the source, among the documents posted online was one describing “the status of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, including troop movements on a particular date.”

Many questions remain about Teixeira’s online activities and the server he allegedly used that is at the center of the government’s leak investigation.

Teixeira is believed to have been the head of an obscure invite-only Discord chatroom called Thug Shaker Central, multiple US officials told CNN, where information from the classified documents was first posted months ago.

Four Discord users active in different Discord chatrooms where the documents later appeared told CNN the documents began circulating on Thug Shaker.

A since-deleted profile with a username reportedly linked to Teixiera appeared on Steam, a gaming site. The avatar is a figure clad in black and clutching a rifle.

Next to the figure is an ominous sounding passage: “Beware the quiet man. For while others speak, he watched. And while others act, he plans. And when they finally rest… he strikes.”

Authorities have yet to publicly assign a motive to Teixeira’s alleged security breach and the allegations seem perplexing even to those who said they were concerned by his odd behavior in high school.

One former classmate who asked not to be named said she found Teixeira’s fascination with the military to be a form of American nationalism, and was therefore surprised by the allegations against him.

“This is a complete shock,” she said. “I didn’t think he would be capable of doing something like this.”

Teixeira’s parents divorced when he was nine years old, according to court records. His mother posted proudly about her son on social media, calling him an “IT guy” and writing that he occasionally made deliveries for the family’s flower business. Neither his mother or father responded to calls from CNN seeking comment.

Teixeira made his initial appearance in US District Court in Boston Friday to face the charges against him. He was escorted into the courtroom in shackles and left without entering a plea. He is due back in court on Wednesday for a hearing to determine whether he will remain behind bars while he awaits trial.

At the end of the hearing Friday, a man in the courtroom shouted, “Love you, Jack.” Teixeira did not look back, but responded, “You too, Dad.”


The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

National News

FILE - Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the Federal Res...

Christopher Rugaber, AP Economics Writer

Federal Reserve is likely to scale back plans for rate cuts because of still-elevated inflation

Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday will likely make official what’s been clear for many weeks: With inflation sticking at a level above their 2% target, they’re downgrading their outlook for interest rate cuts.

3 hours ago

FILE - Los Angeles Lakers coach Jerry West sits on the Lakers' bench in Los Angeles, Jan. 28, 1977....

TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the inspiration for the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, who was selected to the Basketball Hall of Fame three times in a storied career as a player and executive, and whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning, the Los Angeles Clippers announced.

4 hours ago

Emergency vehicles surround the hijacked bus after a harrowing chase through two Atlanta-area count...

Shawn Nottingham, Nick Valencia and Elizabeth Wolfe, CNN

Bus passengers frantically texted loved ones as gunman hijacked an Atlanta commuter bus

A gunman had hijacked a commuter bus with 17 people inside and shot one of them with the passenger’s own gun, authorities said.

4 hours ago

Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan testified in front of senators Tuesday. (Andrew Harnik/Gett...

Blake Ellis, Melanie Hicken and Audrey Ash, CNN

‘A deep moral rot’: Coast Guard leader grilled by senators at hearing on sexual assault cover-up

Senators leveled accusations at the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Linda Fagan on Tuesday, alleging that she fostered a "culture of concealment."

15 hours ago

PENDLETON, OR - SEPTEMBER 16: A bull is ushered back in to a pen at the bull riding event at the Pe...

Claire Rush, Associated Press

Bull that jumped the fence at Oregon rodeo forced to retire from competition, owner says

The bull who jumped out of the arena at an Oregon rodeo, sending the audience into a frenzy, has been forced to retire from competition. The 3-year-old bull, named Party Bus, jumped the fence during a bull riding event at the Sisters Rodeo in central Oregon on Saturday.

15 hours ago

A pro-Palestinian demonstrator is taken into custody Monday outside Dodd Hall at UCLA.
(Etienne Lau...

Jillian Sykes, Holly Yan and Taylor Romine, CNN

27 protesters arrested after pro-Palestinian encampments formed on UCLA campus, university says

A total of 27 people were arrested after setting up multiple pro-Palestinian encampments on UCLA’s campus Monday that police said were unlawful, according to a statement from UCLA leadership.

16 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Man arrested in connection with intel leak: ‘Actions speak louder than words’