An old truism says that logistics wins wars—a recognition that outcomes on the battlefield are a result of the systems that underpin the military. Similarly, the still-mushrooming fiasco of Jack Teixeira’s disclosure of national secrets is not just about a single service member or incident, but a cascading failure of systems within the armed services.
Teixeira, who was arrested in April, is accused of using his position in the Massachusetts Air National Guard to share top-secret intelligence with friends in the social-media forum Discord over the course of months—including sensitive information about the war in Ukraine and discussions with other governments.
Prosecutors’ filings as well as reporting on the case have slowly revealed the many moments when disaster could have been prevented. Given his behavior in high school, Teixeira should probably never have been able to enlist in the Air National Guard, and after he joined, he shouldn’t have been given security clearance. Once in the service, his theft of classified material should have been punished and stopped much sooner. More broadly, the circumstances that provided a 21-year-old guardsman with access to such sensitive information reflected a sloppy repurposing of Air National Guard units. The failure to detect his disclosures sooner was an intelligence problem. And Teixeira’s presence is emblematic of the broader problem of dealing with extremism within the ranks.
Teixeira was a troubled high-school student. In March 2018, he was suspended from school after “a classmate overheard him make remarks about weapons, including Molotov cocktails, guns at the school, and racial threats,” according to federal prosecutors. That led local police to deny him a gun license when he applied for one. When Teixeira sought to join the military, investigators were aware of the incident but allowed him to enlist. Then he was allowed to obtain top-secret clearance as part of his job. In short, his town police had higher standards than people charged with safeguarding national security. [Continue reading…]