Larry Johnson and Other Former Insiders Debunk Air Guardsman-as-Pentagon-Leaker Story as Press Cheers Arrest

Lambert and I have discussed that this is an oddly quiet news period, as shown by the number of stories appearing in the RSS feeds of major US and foreign press outlets, despite being in the midst of a restructuring of the global order and other rows.1 However, the remarkable specter of the Washington Post getting ahead of investigators in hot pursuit of the biggest leaker since Edwards Snowden tripped our bullshit detectors.

As writers, we were both triggered by the writing and exposition style of the Washington Post story providing an extraordinary amount of detail about the presumed leaker and gamer called OG in his Discord circle, which Lambert took to stand for the gamer designation “Old Guy.” According to the Post, OG was the head of a small tribe of gamer teens. OG has supposedly been providing detailed written summaries of material he was reading due to his access to classified documents. When he didn’t get the engagement he wanted, he resorted to posting the documents themselves.

As we learned today after he was arrested, OG is 21 year old Air National Guardsman Jake Teixeira who worked at an installation at the Joint Base at Cape Cod.

The Post story was more Michael Lewis than journalism: too much like a screenplay treatment, few of the customary qualifiers about certainty of information, and far too many signs of official help, like the Post claiming it had seen 300 documents, yet not even providing any description their scope or even dates, or how it got to not just one but two members of OG’s group who recognized OG was in trouble yet were so willing to go into tell-all mode.

Of course, a story explaining how something highly embarrassing to the government being very slickly and quickly produced does not mean it’s not true. But it does suggest its tires should be kicked awfully hard.

Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has found a smoking gun: it’s simply not possible for anyone with access to secure military systems to have gotten one of the documents, a CIA product that would reside only on entirely different systems. The entire interview is worth a listen and here are the key quotesL

Starting at 0:55:

It’s a lie, it’s a fabrication. This first surfaced with Bellingcat. Bellingcat is a front for British intelligence. That’s where the story first surfaced. Washington Post then picks it up and the Guardian then picks it up, on the same day. So this is a coordinated media strategy, this is a disinformation campaign. The documents are real. I’m not saying the documents are fabrications. But this cover story has been manufactured to explain how these documents came to be produced.

It just falls apart, it simply falls apart based on one document in that mix, which is listed as CIA Operations Center Report, Top Secret. I worked in the CIA Operations Center. I helped prepare those reports. That’s an internal CIA document. No one on a US military base anywhere in the world will have access to this kind of document.

Johnson later points out (at 4:00) that another document was DoJ/FBI/FISA, which again would never be accessible through DoD facilities (their SCIFs). Johnson stresses later that contacts with recent and current knowledge confirm there is no way this type of document could have gone over to the military.

Johnson explains (at 14:00) that even some of the DoD documents required clearances restricted only to about 2% of the military, meaning it was highly unlikely Teixeia had access to them.

He contends that the information that was leaked has to have come at a level over the CIA, specifically, the Director of National Intelligence because it is the one place that collects information from the CIA, FBI, NSA, and military.

At 10:18, Napolitano plays a video clip from the Post of an interview with one of OG/Teixeira’s gamer friends. Johnson explains why sees it as conconcted.

Douglas Macgregor was not quite as skeptical as Johnson, but (not recognizing that some of the documents could never be obtained via a SCIF) thought it was highly unlikely, but not totally impossible, that a young Guardsman could have been given access to classified records above his clearance levels. But Macgregor like Johnson dismissed the Post’s video interview.

At 12:40:

It immediately sounds very suspicious. There’s several red flags. First of all, the man is unusually articulate. This is not a stupid man. And he comes across as having almost been rehearsed. The things that he says, he ticks them off one after the other, and then he does something particularly suspicious, he characterizes him as “another right-winger” who didn’t like something or was complaining about something. This may come as a shock to most of your viewers, but almost no one who volunteers to fight in the armed forces of the United States of America is a left-winger. So that’s an absurd statement. But that raises the question in my mind if that man was not rehearsed and sending that message for a specific purpose.

Separately, there is the unseemly spectacle of members of the press baying for the blood of a whistleblower, whether by accident or design. As Glenn Greenwald pointed out, it make clear that the media has become a partner of the security state:

It’s hard to know what to make of a world when Tucker Carlson makes more sense than pretty much anyone else with a big media platform. But recall Paul Krugman was terrific when he was in the opposition, and went to hell when he felt his job was to defend Team Dem:

Having said that, The Intercept’s Nikita Mazurov decries reporters as stooges in Why Did Journalists Help the Justice Department Identify a Leaker? Key bits:

In the fallout from the Pentagon document leaks, 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. If the individual — whose identity has been published by journalists, and who has now been arrested by federal authorities — had shared precisely the same classified materials with reporters, regardless of his motivations, he would be tirelessly defended as a source….

NPR senior editor and correspondent Geoff Brumfiel on Monday combed through artifacts visible in the periphery of the photos of the leaks, as well as collating findings others have discovered, itemizing and explaining each one. Though Brumfiel claimed that his roundup was “largely pointless,” he was effectively performing free labor for the Justice
Department, and his posts may corroborate the identity of a suspect. For instance, it may be possible for investigators to analyze a suspect’s credit card purchase history to see if he at some point ordered the objects in question. Brumfiel did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication….

Brumfiel is by no means alone in his social media vigilantism. Jake Godin, a visual investigations journalist at Scripps News, has likewise engaged in the Twitter pastime of volunteering his time to help the Justice Department…

On Wednesday, the Washington Post disclosed further information about the peripheral contents of “previously unreported images,” as well as a variety of additional information about the alleged leaker and his underage associates. The Post states that the leaker “may have endangered his young followers by allowing them to see and possess classified information, exposing them to potential federal crimes.” Given this risk, the Post was extremely cavalier in its depiction of one of those teenagers, publishing video with only rudimentary pixelation accompanied by his unaltered voice. The Post notes that the interviewee asked them not to obscure his voice, but one wonders whether he also asked for close-up shots of his laptop, clearly showing missing keys, to be included. In other words, the Post appears to be acknowledging the danger the interviewee faces while also choosing to readily present evidence that could help investigators confirm his identity.

Even though this ought to be a developing story, every effort is being made to put it in a tidy box and shut the lid. We’ll see what transpires.

Update 3:00 PM: Micheal Tracey provides further support for Larry Johnson’s view:


1 Another sign of how weird things are media-wise is the lack of follow-through on supposedly important stories. For instance, the suit by Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg against House Judiciary Committee Chief to quash not just the subpoenas his committee had already issued to his office and a former member of his team, but any future subpoenas. I skimmed the filing and thought I might say something, then figured it might make more sense to wait a day to see what the usual suspects served up. Guess what? Not only have I yet to come across any op-eds, I have yet to see even a tweet from constitutional lawyers Lawrence Tribe and Jonathan Turley.

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        1. Questa Nota

          Oxygen Gobbler in many instances :/

          Rolls off the tongue better than the old Useless Eater

          Alternative, darker view: Oxygen Gasper, where someone off screen has loved ones in view to encourage the proper Omertà performance. Think of that old Godfather movie scene where the guy is testifying before the Senate and his brother just happens to be brought in to sit by the original OGs. And he had that cool tie with the giant fluffy balls. So there is that.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        OG has mutated but I think everyone who uses it knows it originally meant Original Gangster but there is another OG term used by cannabis growers. Mostly that OG is thought to stand for Ocean Garden, but no one really seems to know other than OG is a common element in the names of hybrid strains.

        OG for Old Guy is totally new to me, but I haven’t gamed for almost twenty years now which sounds like the definition of OG in gamer circles.

        OG also stands for Oscar Gisleson, the only member of my family to ever go to war (died from the flu in England during WWI, never saw action).

        1. Val

          Pretty much all the grandmothers at church love OG Kush and her multitudinous hybrid offspring, to which they ascribe diverse quality of life benefits. “Do you have any Ghost Train OG?” G-ma asked at the monthly one-penny pre-roll promotion. Gladys commandeered the church van so they can all ride to the weed store together. Quite a thing to see.

          And you are no doubt gonna want some Ice-T with that–

          Here I come so you better break north
          As I stride my gold chains glide back and forth

          Got me twisted, jammed into a paradox
          Every Dollar I get, another brother drops
          Maybe that’s the plan and I don’t understand
          God damn you got me sinkin’ in quicksand
          But since I don’t know and I ain’t never learned
          I gotta get paid, I got money to earn

        2. CarlH

          I believe the OG in OG Kush stands for Ocean Grown, signifying it’s development in Los Angeles, even though the strain originated in Florida before being perfected in California.

      2. Aaron

        This supposed leaker is 21, I would bet money he has never heard “Old Guy”. Most definitely short for Original Gangster

          1. Greg

            Especially given the “Thug Shaker Central” title they gave their channel. Fairly normal gamer appropriation of hiphop culture.

      3. albrt

        I believe OG signifies original gangster, but it is used more broadly to signal authenticity demonstrated over a period of time. I imagine Sanders campaigners used it to highlight the contrast between Sanders and the inauthentic newcomer Obama.

      4. Reader_In_Cali

        OG used to literally mean “original gangster” from hip hop, but has indeed morphed in to a more capacious term denoting something or someone that is long-established, enduring. When young people, as in under 50 yr olds, use OG, they are not using it as shorthand for old guy lol

        For e.g. “NC is one of the OG left econ/finance blogs,” “Bernie Sanders is the OG Socialist in Congress” “Bill Clinton is the OG Me Too offender” (ha!)

        People were not calling Sanders a gangster, correct. They were acknowledging his decades long consistency with Socialist policies in the public eye.

    1. svay

      There was, and perhaps still is, an online thing about the Salisbury poisonings in which several contributors portraying themselves as anonymous government insiders used names such as OGanon or OG15.

      1. Savita

        Thankyou Albrt and reader in Cali for correctly asserting OG refers to longevity and authenticity. Further to this point, OG standing for ‘Old Man’ – the wisdom of the elders is more respected and acknowledged in black culture.

        The ‘gangster’ reference in OG is a real misnomer. Why? Because of source principals. Being, hip hop is not rap. Rap being named as hip hop is an irrevocable and singular point of departure from the facts. The two are regularly conflated. Rap is something you do. Gangster Rap is a corrupted rebranding of MC’ing that formed part of hip hop culture. This corrupted image was manufactured by record companies, on the back of west coast rap coming out in the 80’s describing life in the ghettos. Ice T for example.

        Hip Hop is a culture which happens to include rapping as one of its many expressions. Hip Hop has nothing to do with being a gangster, not at all. Ice T was referenced in the Reddit Lambert linked to via his song Original Gangster. He was never was hip hop, ever.

        Chuck D of Public Enemy (the most critically and commercially lauded and influential hip hop group of all time) referrred to himself as an OG in an interview recently. Meaning, yes he knows he has status, he’s an elder statesman, he accepts this is his role and he conducts himself with dignity and respect accordingly. But gangster, no, no way.

  1. DJG, Reality Czar

    I am sorry that I forgot who made this very valuable observation: It is more than strange that the Washington Post is in hot pursuit of the leaker and not in pursuit of publishing the documents. Lo, how the not-so-mighty have fallen (even lower). So the Washington Post enjoys playing games, too, rather than making the comfortable uncomfortable.

    Taibbi weighs in:

    The question I can’t figure out is if this young person, Teixeira, had access to data bases, managed to scoop up paper copies, or made his own copies.

    What doesn’t pass the smell test is the accessibility issue that Larry Johnson points out.

    Suddenly, top-secret documents are turning up everywhere. Some of it is from over-classification, in that the information in this latest leak reflects discussions that have been going on here at Naked Capitalism for weeks. Do we qualify collectively as a national-security braintrust?

    What the leakees are embarrassed about is that their pond-scum-level manipulations just aren’t that hard to figure out.

    Some people are also making fun of Sy Hersh’s latest assertion that Saint Zelenskyy is involved in a scam to skim diesel being bought from Russia. Sounds plausible to me.

    When it rains, it pours.

    1. mrsyk

      “I for one find it extremely concerning that the Washington Post and the New York Times worked more intensely on identifying the source of the leaks that the leaked briefing slides. Since when is it their job to find people who endanger the national security state?” b at MoA. NC gets a shoutout there again as well.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        The ending of this movie, when Higgins asks the Condor, “How do you know they’ll print it?,” reminds us that the Ellsberg, Manning and Snowden leaks finding their way into the public domain may have been the exception.

        And isn’t Higgins’s explanation for the CIA’s ruthlessness still applicable today? Americans want their Maypo when they want it. Look at the panic as gas approached $5. Remember what happened when Carter tried to suggest some cooperative measures to cut oil consumption.

        Is the “middle class lifestyle” an addiction induced by omnipresent advertising?

        And nowadays, the movies all glorify the CIA.

        1. Rolf

          Nice movie.

          And isn’t Higgins’s explanation for the CIA’s ruthlessness still applicable today? Americans want their Maypo when they want it. Look at the panic as gas approached $5. Remember what happened when Carter tried to suggest some cooperative measures to cut oil consumption.


          1. mrsyk

            “Remember what happened when Carter tried to suggest some cooperative measures to cut oil consumption.”
            Public derision.

        2. AG

          Condor: But in 1975 there is still trust in the newspaper.

          After all: hero character TURNER wants to leak it to the NYT.
          It is villain HIGGINS who questions it all “are you sure they gonna print it?”

          btw another quote that might fit today: “The world is not Black and White. It´s Grey. IT´S GREY!”

          (Villain RITTER to hero JACK RYAN in “Clear and Present Danger” 1994)

          p.s. since this entry concerns “Pentagon Leaks”:

          Back in Sept. 2 RU Su-25s almost shot down a British surveillance plane over the Black Sea.

          Think what happened after that lonely rocket in Poland.
          Now think again.

          Unless of course they would have covered up the shot down plane to avoid WWIII.

          NYT reporting, unfortunately paywalled by now:

          “Miscommunication Nearly Led to Russian Jet Shooting Down
          British Spy Plane, U.S. Officials Say
          Recently leaked intelligence documents called the incident, last year, a near shoot down.
          Officials said it was more serious than originally reported.”

          By Thomas Gibbons-Neff and Eric Schmitt
          April 12, 2023

          Apparently the Russian pilot did press the missile attack button. It did not start only for a malefunction.

          1. BrianC - PDX

            The US has a long history of taunting the Russian bear…


            From the last part of the linked article:

            More than 40 U.S. aircraft were downed by Soviet forces and 200 Americans were killed during these operations. Their families were given false information by the military on the circumstances of their deaths.[13] Dmitry Volkogonov, a former Soviet and Russian general and historian, has claimed that more than 730 pilots and airmen were captured and arrested after making forced landings or having their aircraft shot down.[14]

            In the 1960s through 1990s, US aircraft would continue to do aerial reconnaissance and surveillance up to the edges of Soviet borders and airspace; for example, with reconnaissance aircraft (such as the A-12 and SR-71) and surveillance aircraft (such as the RC-135U and EP-3), but no more overflights would be done, because of the high likelihood of being shot down by surface-to-air missiles.

            1. AG

              thx for the link

              (they ARE quoting William Blum as source)

              this btw is Russian-language version of Wiki covering the topic:


    2. Bart Hansen

      Yesterday Alex at the Duran quoted portions of the Hersh post behind the paywall that was very dismissive of Blinken and Sullivan. Does anyone have that portion of Hersh’s post?

      1. Skip Intro

        I believe this is bit to which you refer:

        Another divisive issue, I have been repeatedly told in my recent reporting, is the strident ideology and lack of political skill shown by Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan. The president and his two main foreign policy advisers “live in different worlds” than the experienced diplomats and military and intelligence officers assigned to the White House;. “They have no experience, judgment, and moral integrity. They just tell lies, make up stories. Diplomatic deniability is something else,” the intelligence official said. “That has to be done.”

        A prominent retired American diplomat who strenuously opposes Biden’s foreign policy toward China and Russia depicted Blinken as little more than a “jumped-up congressional staffer” and Sullivan as “a political campaign manager” who suddenly find themselves front and center in the world of high-powered diplomacy “with no empathy for the opposition.

      2. flora

        This bit?

        A prominent retired American diplomat who strenuously opposes Biden’s foreign policy toward China and Russia depicted Blinken as little more than a “jumped-up congressional staffer” and Sullivan as “a political campaign manager” who suddenly find themselves front and center in the world of high-powered diplomacy “with no empathy for the opposition. They’re decent pols,” he added, “but now we have the political and energy world all upside down. China and India are now selling refined gasoline to the Western world. It’s just business.”

    3. ambrit

      “Do we qualify collectively as a national-security braintrust?”
      Alas, the way things are going, I’m afraid that the NC “brand” will be classified as a National Security risk. Remember, any independent thinking at all is a threat to the extant Elites, anywhere and anywhen.
      I’m so old I remember having a Jefferson Starship album titled “Blows Against the Empire.” Who does that now, Gangsta, Industrial, Trance?
      Stay safe, stay informed, be ever vigilant.

    4. Ignacio

      The fall of the media outlets to mere loudspeakers of the narratives brought by the intelligence “community” is indeed a shocking realisation. To be sure, there is a net of media involved including the infamous “Trust Project” involving many supposedly serious outlets. In yesterday’s posts Yves talked about the “coincidence” of these findings with the process of approval of the RESTRICT act, all this suggesting that the US Government is seeking for further control of any communication outlet (and the alternative narratives therein).

      This, their wanting for tight control of everything is what i find the most worrying realisation. First, we notice there is a need to control everything. This must be a reflection of insecurity from the part of governments when they know they are doing stuff that is unacceptable and they feel the need to control the narratives to make the shit stomach-able by the audience.

      1. Henry Moon Pie

        They finally realize that the technology they’ve used at least from the Arab Spring onward can be used against them as well. Twitter of something like it is indispensable to the modern color revolution. The Blob utilized the openness of the Internet to bring down a number of governments, now they’re on the defensive and need desperately to shut it down.

    5. flora

      If, as Johnson says, there’s no way a few of the documents were available to the military, then the question writes itself: Was this entire thing a setup for some purpose we don’t know? The “official MSM” outlets were quick with descriptions and explanations.

      1. Bsn

        Il Dotoré. So cool. Great trick that I appreciate. I’ve learned quite a few through the NC commentariat and this one’s right up there. Thanks from an ol’ s’cool internet user.

        1. Doctor Duck

          FYI that’s not a hard-and-fast rule. You do have to apply a little analysis to suss out which parts of an URL contribute to a successful link. But when you see “?utm” you can be sure the rest is tracking / stats.

      1. BeliTsari

        Almost like a WWII vintage Bob Hope movie, where it’s Benito sitting next to him? Amy Goodnan’s White Helmet/ Bell¿ngcat & Putin did it stories (where REAL journalists are all shown as FOX wannabes) was so ponderous on lead-up to Ukraine (to STOP Rooski gas/ oil competition & simultaneously get China to infect scores-of-millions to get liberals iPhones, Teslas, etc. while shorting AGW-mitigating Asian equities and curtailing Chinese tech hegemony (as PASC free, sero-naive workers were weaponized by G7 competitors)

        I wonder if anybody’s even noticing verbatim repitition of WEF, Atlantic Council, CFR tropes sounding like HUAC blithering? If you’re even aware of Sy Hersh, Glenn, Matt, NS train wrecks, mass shootings, mRNA side effects, Nord Stream or Azov Battalion death squads… we’ve been watching YOU watch whistleblowers & your selfie cam never sleeps?

        1. Mark Gisleson

          I have to resist the urge to fall in love with Vlad Putin each time I hear him speak precisely and succinctly. He says what he means and he means what he says — who else does that anymore?!

          1. BeliTsari

            If we vote for him, will WaPo report us?
            I’m particularly fed up with Putin, BECAUSE he’s absolutely right!


            We’d spent time, wondering how media cries to silence inconvenient disclosures, journalistic inquiry, whistleblower or 3rd party leaks, will affect hospital acquired COVID, vaccine side-effects, Brownstone Institute & WEF control of CDC mandating re-re-reinfection of PASC indentured essentials and HCWs, fearing employer, ALEC & Health Department guidelines to minimize, deny or misinform patients, to conform with federal, state & municipal policies intended to expose kids as ‘asymptomatic’ vectors, pretend that mRNA, without effective NPI allows them to PRETEND BA.1 rendered us SUPER Immune & an ever mutating, immune hijacking virus is magically rendered harmless, by CDC mandate?

            Would WaPo, MSNBC, CNN & Disney report folks uploading video of the SP catastrophe in East Palestine? Would reporters call for our torture for knowing how Formosa became Taiwan? Will we be droned when we’re evicted after 400% increases enabled by City Law 1, to end-run rent control? Will our phones help lovate us & selfir cam identify us, live-streaming cop beatings?

    1. Susan the other

      The cat peed behind the couch again. How do you know? Because it’s raining. So? He hates the rain, plus I can always smell it – gotta get more kitty spray.

  2. John R Moffett

    Agreed, the US Corporate Owned News now consider themselves “info warriors” on the front lines of the information war. Their job is to throw up smoke screens, attack the messengers and divert attention from crimes and misdeeds. If you think you are going to get any news out of them, you are mistaken.

    If everyone stopped watching and reading the information warriors nonsense, we would all be in a better mental place.

  3. Louis Fyne

    I find the above observations reasonable. No going to argue them.

    My counter is that it is also reasonable that the US intel-Pentagon is full of institutional rot and so full of poor internal controls that a scenario as “stupid” as the alleged breach is possible: a 21 y.o. allegedly having carte blanche in a post-Snowden intel system.

    the EPA bureacracy is retarded, the CDC is retarded, just as possible that the Pentagon is too.

    1. c_heale

      I think it might be about time to stop using the word “retarded” to indicate stupidity, given its original meaning was to define people who have a disability. We’ve stopped using offensive language for many other categories, so why are people with special needs excepted from this fight against prejudice and bigotry.

      1. French75

        We’ve stopped using offensive language for many other categories

        Please provide an example. Terms e.g., neurotic, manic, schizo, demented are in common pejorative usage. “Weaponized autism” is a new one. These all describe aberrantly extreme behaviors, and exaggeration will always be rhetorically useful. In practice, you are arguing against hyperbole… so good luck?

      2. Richard

        “We’ve stopped using offensive language…”

        Progressive euphemism:

        A negative phenomenon/condition is named.
        The name is used.
        People figure out what the name means.
        The name is banned.
        A new name is given the phenomenon/condition.

      3. JBird4049

        As someone who was called retard, retarded, and other such names, I really don’t care for those words, but really, considering the seriousness of our society’s ongoing collapse, it is not important; unless you are using such pejoratives unfairly, or to deliberately sidetrack a conversation, especially during with that individual, I would pay it no mind.

        I am sick of being hyper alert for any possible offense that I might inadvertently give; sometimes just saying the truth itself is labeled offensive, but the truth is never offensive, just extremely inconvenient for some. (Re-?) Restated, verbal bomb throwing is bad, but honesty should not called that, unless you are at a funeral or wedding!

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Speculation alert. Overclassification and reclassification in the Obama era may have broken the ability of actors to access necessary information in a reasonable time line. The result would be a large scale breaking of the rules by “patriots”, and no one will raise an alarm because they will lose their status and not deliver anything to get a book deal. The first set of leaks was information that is more or less available on twitter. The revelation was the discrepancy between the msm and Western msm outlets and politicians and outlets outside the West

  4. John

    I found it interesting that top secret … and above … documents are so loosely secured that they might be available to 21-year-old national guardsmen. That would imply that any reasonably competent intelligence agency was reading those documents not long after they were prepared.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      That is not a correct inference. They are can be viewed only at a SCIF and each facility has the capability to determine who accessed what record. Access is controlled by your level of clearance. As indicated, the records are siloed, so the CIA cannot access material held by the DoD and vice versa.

  5. Louis Fyne

    IMO, the biggest revelation from the OG leaks isn’t the Ukraine-stuff as the Ukraine stuff overlaps with conclusions reached by Russia-sympathetic open source internet accounts.

    The biggest revelation is that, post-Snowden, the US still is scooping up large amounts of signal intelligence with impunity (see OG leak revelations re. UAE and Korea).

    So either important persons in foreign governments are sloppily talking about sensitive matters using their unsecured personal phones; and/or
    US intel has backdoors in telecom infrastructure (see Snowden leaks); and/
    or foreign targets are using something like Apple iChat or Gmail—and those platforms are compromised by US intelligence.

    IMO, the signal intelligence revelation is what will make the US prosecution go hard on OG with respect to jail time if OG is convicted.

    1. NN Cassandra

      Perhaps it depends. On the end of this NYT report it is mentioned how US spies intercepted Russian intelligence communication about China selling them arms. Except it turned out to be false. So all the hysteria about China sending arms to Russia and all the public threats about grave repercussion if they attempt something like that, are, at least in part, based on false information originating from Russian intelligence agencies.

      Fortunately, NYT pats US spies on the back and laughs at the Russian spies, how stupid they are when they thought the Chinese agreed to sell them arms.

    2. digi_owl

      And there you have the reason why USA is panicking about Tiktok and Huawei, because they are not US/western companies and thus not under the US thumb.

      1. djrichard

        I don’t think of TikTok in that context, at least not yet. For me, it’s just fodder in a larger campaign. The same way evil doers were. US to evil doers, “nothing personal, it’s just business” as we invade your country. US to TikTok, “nothing personal, it’s just business” as we amp the media campaign against China. That said, if the US truly does prohibit TikTok that would be a tell you’re right, that the intelligence agencies are playing a trump card.

        And I do believe that trump card has been played against Huawei. Not because of their hand sets. More because of their networking equipment in particular – that Huawei wasn’t giving CIA et. al. back doors. Their entire portfolio was put in the cross hairs just to simplify.

        1. digi_owl

          I dunno. Tiktok, like any solid social media platform, support direct messages, or DMs if you like. Meaning they are “private” messages between two users. And people are likely to exchange all kinds of info over such messages, thinking they have some semblance of privacy.

          And yes, the Huawei thing is very much about infra. In particular as some of its biggest competitors are Swedish (Ericsson) and Finnish (Nokia). Both nations now very gung-ho about NATO after decades of neutrality.

    3. Sushi

      US intel has backdoors in telecom infrastructure

      Evidence to support this assertion might possibly be supplied were it not highly likely one or both readers would then be hunted down by WaPo/NYT Sicherheitsdienst agents.

      Can you answer the following question?
      Who would be most negatively effected if a foreign company became the world leader in providing secure telecoms infrastructure?

  6. TheMog

    Even if I would accept that the alleged leaker had the level of access required to get at all of these documents – which seems unrealistic based on the article – (where did he find them, another one of Hunter’s or Anthony Wiener’s laptops?) and that it was reasonable/normal/expected for him to have that level of access (seems problematic), I have a hard time to accept that he was able to exfiltrate the documents without enough alarm bells ringing that people would think NK sent another missile.

    Then again, Snowden did manage that, too, but you’d think that by now they’d plugged some of those holes. Maybe Louis Fyne is correct and the internal controls are so bad that this is still possible. But of course that part would not be part of the story being published unless we suddenly are supposed to believe that this individual is some super spy the Rooskies trained since he was two years old or something to that extent.

    Either way I look at this, even if he did all that Bellingcat/WaPo said he did, that to me sounds like a massive failure of internal controls, with either systems being interconnected that shouldn’t be, or not locked down enough so the data could walk out without raising too many alarms.

  7. Cynthia

    If Larry Johnson’s take on this is true, which is likely the case, then the US is no longer just the Empire of Chaos and Lies, it has now become the Empire of Evil as well. No doubt that anyone who’s so cold and heartless as to totally destroy the life of an innocent young man is pure Evil!

    1. Rip Van Winkle

      At one time the U.S. federal government was thought to be like the loveable and noble Cujo.

      From 1946 and onward to 11/22/63 to this day, the ‘rabid bats’ have been the 3 letter intel agencies and the larger MIC, the bought-and-paid-for elected officials and lately the corporate legacy media.

      Now we are getting towards the end of the movie. Or some old dusty story book with the passage, “…if I can find ten righteous people…”

    2. NoFreeWill

      Our empire was built on slavery, genocide, and land theft, and including Hawaii and the Philippines in 1800s we have been doing pacification of the natives overseas, but it’s only now you think we’re evil?

  8. Katniss Everdeen

    Agree with MacGregor–the interviewee who needed mommy’s “permission” to speak with a wapo “reporter” was weirdly articulate. Not exactly the Cheeto-eating incel pimple factory we’ve all been led to believe makes up the basement-dwelling gamer “community.”

    He reminded me of those infamous, baby-faced narcs who used to pretend to be high school students to catch drug dealers, or fbi agents who pretend to be 12-year-old girls to catch online child predators.

    If this was really legit, you’d have thought they’d have been yanking out his fingernails to give up the perp’s name instead of allowing him to give an “interview” to propaganda outlet, wapo, to be broadcast far and wide and relentlessly speculated on by the ex-cia pundit class. In the interest of “national security,” but with his mom’s permission, of course.

    I wish “they’d” just hurry up and get to the point. What new erosion of the right to privacy, prohibition against illegal search and seizure, or other general expansion of the security state is this latest “criminal” episode meant to inspire and / or justify?

    1. Silent Bob

      I found the references to Ruby Ridge and Waco risible. How long before this kid was born did those occur? I found the whole interview stodgy and, frankly, boring. This the best they can do, a Timothy McVeigh redux? Perhaps. In the meantime I’m changing the channel.

    2. nippersdad

      It cannot be a coincidence that this comes up at the same time that they are trying to pass the Restrict Act. Rand Paul is not my idea of a decent pol, but he does occasionally come through.

      1. Questa Nota

        Playbook, page XIX.
        In lay terms, distract the masses and redirect their curiosity and fear toward a desired interpretation.

        In more cynical terms, Endgame Approaches.
        Ukie escapades being exposed. Countries ruined, everything suborned, corruption being found out.
        Stateside, idiocy of Bidet regime and ruination of domestic life being called out.

        Next steps? Expect something from the Epstein files. Spice up with something from the Chinese Bidet files. Supplemented with more Restrict panic.

    3. jake

      Whatever else you can say about this story, and whether the facts claimed make any sense, the existence of “weirdly” or “unusually” articulate kids cited as evidence of a dramatic conspiracy is in itself “weirdly” ludicrous. This passes as analysis?

      First of all, neither is notably articulate — “self-importantly authoritative” in a BS way common to that age group might be more accurate. And even if they were remarkably articulate, what then? The account could only be truthful if the participants were morons, lacked preparation and cultivated sufficiently disappearing egos that they had no views of the matter they weren’t eager to “share”? This in the age of Ken Burns, youtube experts and the endless interview, where everyone knows how to sound “authoritative”?

      1. Bazarov

        I agree.

        I found the kid’s manner of speaking affected and clumsy, aligning with the “smartypants” idiom sometimes heard among precocious freshman college students.

        However, his citation of Waco and Ruby Ridge ancient history may indicate some coaching, perhaps by leading questions. Oddly, the interviewer’s prompts are absent from the video being passed around.

      2. djrichard

        To me this came across as “The WaPo wants to use me. But watch as I use the WaPo!”. But I don’t see anybody being able to pull that off, especially in such a high stakes situation, unless they’re trained.

        But who knows, just maybe this interviewee was waiting for his moment of glory and this happened to come along and he got his 15 minutes of fame. Now I wouldn’t think such diamonds in the rough are normally found in a gaming community. But who knows, if that’s the way it is, this kid has a brilliant career in front of him as an influencer or whatever.

        But I’m more convinced he has a less brilliant career in front of him as carrying water for his superiors.

  9. Aurelien

    Possibly. The difficulty with this kind of argument is that it proposes a highly complex explanation in place of a simple one, and is obliged to construct that explanation around the facts that are known, whether or not it makes a consistent story.

    The simple explanation would run as follows. This young man worked in a job which required a negative security clearance, which in most cases, after a perfunctory check would give him access to Secret-level documents, and that’s what most of them seem to be. Depending on the organisation, it might also give him occasional access to more highly classified material if it was necessary for his job. In theory, government organisations have rigidly-enforced security procedures and compartmentalisation of information. In practice, and especially now that so much is dematerialised, you can never guarantee this absolutely. So our friend made copies of anything he saw that looked interesting and might improve his status.

    I’m not sure what the fully articulated form of the complicated explanation would be. But let’s assume I’m an extremely highly-placed official in the US Directorate of National Intelligence and I decide to leak all of this (why?) Let’s assume I’m worried about Ukraine and want to get accurate information out. Fair enough, but there are a number of obvious problems. First, why do it this way, through a server which most people have never even heard of, where it spends a month before anybody notices. It’s about the least likely option I can think of. Second, why set this man up, if that’s what’s being alleged? Is there any doubt that it was he who actually leaked the document? If so why would he cooperate? Why identify anyone at all, and so quickly at that? Third, if I were arranging to leak documents on Ukraine I would limit the leaks to that, and I would limit them to Secret level, precisely because I would want to cause the least damage and widen the field of potential leakers as far as possible. The last thing I would do would be to include completely irrelevant, highly damaging and highly classified material relating to quite different issues, and which have obviously damaged relations with Israel and South Korea. In addition, the wider the spread and the higher the classification, the less convincing a story about a young, low-level leaker would be.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more to this story than we know, but unless any real evidence is produced I remain sceptical of conspiracy explanations.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Your assumptions do not map onto facts. As Johnson indicate, NO ONE at a military base, no matter what clearances they had, could have accessed 2 of the 11 documents Johnson found as attributed to the leaker. One was the CIA document, the other was the FISA document.

      On top of that, some of the other records required very high level clearances.

      The National Guard is not a job in the sense you conceive either. These assignment are short term, so even less reason for him to have higher level clearances.

      There’s zero evidence this leaker had super duper tech chops, as Snowden did. Recall Snowden went to some effort and it took him some time, to get an assignment that gave him access to the sort of records that interested him.

      So you may not like the explanation, but yours does not fit the information, and you don’t get to play Procrustean bed to excise facts to fit a tidier story

      1. jefemt

        2 of 11 is almost Pareto’s 20/80. I will keep a jaundiced eye to the MSM to hear more about the outliers. I assume I will wait a long time, like the $600., or royalty checks from Musk for Starlink.

      2. NN Cassandra

        The question is if Johnson can credibly claim as fact that how it should be done in theory, was done in practice on this particular base.

        In fact even if we entertain the theory the true leaker is someone else, the problem of how he/she got all these papers out of these secret and guarded facilities remains unanswered.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Sorry, please look up GSA rules on SCIFs. These are secure facilities run to exacting standards.

          The assumption is Teixiera somehow got the docs via access to the systems. It’s simply impossible for the records Johnson mentions to have gotten on DoD servers. On top of that, even some of the DoD records required clearances he was vanishingly unlikely to have.

          I’ve worked with some private sector companies who had NSA-type protocols. No one shares their credentials for logging in. And even if someone did, again they could not have gotten the FISA or CIA document.

          Michael Tracey provides more support in a the update at the end of the post, that the distribution marks on other docs show they would have gone only to an extremely few high level people and the DoD was not in that chain.

          1. Synoia

            Perfect logic.

            However the US has a suspect (victim) under wraps, and no logic will deter out lords and nasties that one of them is the leakier.

            c/f, bright shiny object.

          2. James

            I think Yves reasoning is dead solid on this … and I had to google “Procrustean bed”. I tip my hat to you, Yves.

            1. Late Introvert

              Re: Procrustean bed

              Heh, you weren’t the only one to look it up. That there is a Poe reference was the rimshot.

      3. Aurelien

        What Johnson is describing is how the system that he used to work in was supposed to function, and I have no reason to doubt him. Nor do I doubt, from my personal experience, that systems like that can and do have weaknesses and produce errors from time to time. As I say, the alleged perpetrator would only need routine security clearances to see most of the material: I’ve had students doing internships at foreign ministries who’ve been through the same process and would have had the same kind of access. As regards information sharing between organisations, I’m not familiar enough with the detailed working of the US system to offer much of an opinion, but in all other countries that I’m aware of, it does happen, depending on the subject matter.

        In any event, this is somewhat beside the point. It’s not necessary to suppose computer hacking or whatever, just incompetence of the kind which is sufficiently well documented in large institutions that nobody should be surprised here. For the reasons I have given (including the issues of access, which would be a red flag to anyone with relevant experience) then if this was a conspiracy it was extraordinarily slapdash and incompetent. It is, of course, possible to find a complex explanation which fits the known facts as well as a simple one: it always is, and, with enough determination you can make anything fit anything. But here, we seem to have a simple choice at the current state of knowledge between (a) someone who exploited institutional incompetence and (b) a huge conspiracy, incompetently conducted by persons unknown for reasons we can only speculate about, and of which there is, so far, no evidence. On the basis that you stick to simple explanations where possible, I’m keeping an open mind, but I’m unpersuaded so far that what’s been published isn’t part of the truth, even if not necessarily all of it.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “if this was a conspiracy it was extraordinarily slapdash and incompetent”

          I tend to agree with your point about incompetence rather than intricate conspiracy. In general, I think we “dissenters” or “skeptics” or whatever you’d like to call us (NC writers and commenters) have a tendency to ascribe way too much foresight and systems savvy to our elites. This is even more true at sites like MoA.

          On the other hand, if this was a conspiracy by a person or persons to release information that would alert to the public to the plethora of lies about the Ukraine adventure with which the government and media bombard us daily, then it would seem to have worked well so far if its purpose was to protect the high muckety muck(s) from prosecution. The information is out, and nobody is looking for a general or even a JCS staffer.

          And watching the news this morning, if there is also a conspiracy by Nuland et al. to use this kid to distract from the substance of the documents, that is working quite well too with the help of the MSM. Nobody is talking substance other than the ridiculous “we have Russia wired” story. The admissions re: the Urkaine military’s many weaknesses seem to be quickly buried unless some actual journalists–as opposed to snitches–do some work.

        2. Louis Fyne

          IMO, a tell is the hunting book and home interiors that was caught in the background of some of the photos.

          I allege that (alleged criminal) OG is an idiot w/o the basic concepts of personal operational security (who likely would not have made it into an intelligence unit but for the contemporary loosening of recruiting standards, unless OG is representative of current under-30s),,,,

          unless, of course, that hunting book is a double bluff or plant by our scheme creators/facilitators.

          1. Questa Nota

            Background visuals to cue responses. Eww, those awful fill-in-the-blank outgroupers.

            A whiff of that Wag the Dog manipulation. Think of the, er, progress since that movie came out in 1997.

            1. Louis Fyne

              Not that it was a coffee table book, but that it was an identifiable clue. Could’ve been a copy of the Boston Globe or LeMonde.

              Point is if I had a classified document and took a picture, I would not give any hints in the background—-unless I was stupid.

              Now of course, given that it is a hunting book and so obviously in the background—-it is fuel for a volume of (plausible) conspiracy hypothesis.

              1. irrational

                It seems you are saying he was smart enough to get the docs, but then on after he forgot the smarts? This in a nutshell (apart from the access issues) is what makes the official story not add up to me even without analyzing more deeply.

                1. Louis Fyne

                  I’m saying something slightly different:

                  alleged perp was stupid enough to think it could get away with disclosing classified info;

                  and alleged perp continued his stupidity by posting the info (with sloppy operational security) on a Discord server paid by himself.

                  AND alleged perp’s stupidity only was made possible by the lazy internal controls set up by the Pentagon/intel community; AND

                  a DC culture of we need to share more info between silos so that another 9/11 doesn’t happen (which was scrutinized after Snowden and obviously will be re-scrutinized again).

                  >>>”JWICS needs to be modernized, … and we are undertaking some investments and some approaches to do exactly that,” she said, adding that it’s a top priority for DIA.

                  >>>The JWICS system started as the core network for the military intelligence community on which to conduct intelligence operations, White said, but users are asking more of it now and are using it as “the daily system.”

                  >>>”It’s very useful and efficient to many users,” she said. “So we’re trying to generate more of that conversation of ‘If we were to create JWICS today, what would it look like for the entire community, the [intelligence community], the DOD and even broader, federal?'”


                  People are reasonably opining: this is too stupid to have happened, OG must be a patsy.

                  I’m saying this is so stupid that it is plausible that the allegations are true. Stupidity is endemic within today’s US terminal imperial rot.

                  Never underestimate the infinite synergy when stupid meets stupid.

                  1. Sushi

                    I’m saying this is so stupid that it is plausible that the allegations are true. Stupidity is endemic within today’s US terminal imperial rot.

                    It is reported that the alleged 21 year-old gamer perp was an “IT Specialist.” It is likely that he provided something akin to internal help desk assistance.

                    I have worked in situations wherein passwords must conform to specific criteria to make them impossible to guess, the passwords must be changed at a regular interval, and old passwords cannot be reused.
                    And this was in the context of a Fortune 500 enterprise not in the context of national security and putting sources and methods at risk.

                    My bet is that password requirements within the national security state are even more rigorous. Since “Stupidity is endemic” it is therefore likely that senior officers ran into password problems and relied on a 21 year old OG gamer for assistance. That OG may therefore have been in a position to “collect” a significant number of credentials which he could then use to gain access to a range of materials. Since these materials were accessed via legitimate credentials no security warnings were triggered. If the workplace was some form of fusion centre which hosted representatives from a variety of agencies this would explain how the alleged perp gained access to the materials Johnson claims should have been denied to him.

                    1. CNu

                      It is reported that the alleged 21 year-old gamer perp was an “IT Specialist.” It is likely that he provided something akin to internal help desk assistance.


                      My bet is that password requirements within the national security state are even more rigorous.

                      25 characters changed every 60 days with automated enforcement.

                      Classified networks are not connected to the Internet. That’s why the briefs were printed, photographed, and uploaded.

                      The DoD STIGS are all in the public domain.


                    2. Yves Smith Post author

                      See my comment below. Please don’t dignify the notion that this guy had any IT role in the absence of evidence, which has yet to be provided. And a mere help desk person would not have that level of authority even in a less secure shop.

                    3. Yves Smith Post author

                      “It is reported” is not acceptable here. You need to provide a link. I have seen no such claim. This is easily pure speculation based on the fact that he was a gamer.

                      Making Shit Up is a further violation of house rules. I’ve never never encountered an even moderately security sensitive org (as in banks) that allow help desk people to see passwords.

                    4. CNu

                      Though it is not yet known what Teixeira’s precise duties were, he was an IT specialist in the intelligence unit, meaning he would have had access to the JWICS—and, once inside that system, he could have searched any topic.

                      According to the former intelligence officer, several years ago, in response to a spate of leaks, JWICS was modified so that no documents from its files could be downloaded. This may explain why Teixeira, at first, wrote down summaries—in some cases, verbatim transcripts—of intelligence documents, which he then sent to his pals on the Discord gamers’ server.

                      The Washington Post and New York Times have reported that he later printed out documents, which he folded, took home, photographed, and then emailed to his small band of followers.


                    5. Sushi

                      He was assigned to a support squadron of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at Otis Air National Guard Base, according to the National Guard Bureau. Service records show he was awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal on Sept. 30, 2022.

                      The Air Force confirmed to ABC News that his rank is Airman 1st Class (E-3), and his duty title is Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman.

                      A U.S. official described this role to ABC News as something like “combat IT” — a job focused on keeping the military’s global communications and cyber infrastructure running. The role is not an intelligence specialist but requires security clearances to perform certain duties, according to the official.

                      On its website, the Air Force describes the responsibility of Cyber Transport Systems specialists as ensuring the underlying infrastructure of its “vast, global communications network” is operating properly.

                      “Whether it’s repairing a network hub at a stateside base or installing fiber-optic cable at a forward installation overseas, these experts keep our communications systems up and running and play an integral role in our continuing success,” the Air Force said.


                      I suspect a young “Cyber Transport Systems Specialist” may also be referred to as a “gopher” as in “get me a coffee,” or “this dang computer has locked me out again” or “This is my password but it’s not working.”

                      All of which is to say Otis AFB may lack that TOP-GUN Maverick Bruckheimer cinematic ethos.

                    6. Yves Smith Post author

                      This story about his role keeps changing. There are multiple stories saying he was doing intel/analytical work, which conflicts with this account.

                      Someone in comments was trying to run the “help desk” line to argue that Teixeia has stolen credentials to get access to very high level docs. That would be a much less damaging fact set than his role allowing him to see docs theoretically way above his clearance level. Note Michael Tracey here:

                      Some of the leaked documents are marked EXDIS which is at least nominally supposed to be used only for the most “highly sensitive traffic” between the White House and the State Department. This probably was not envisioned to include the Massachusetts Air National Guard


                      I ran it by Larry Johnson, based on what he said on the Napolitano interview:

                      In my latest article I only referenced two friends who agreed that something is not right with the story being fed to the public. But I have heard from several former intel and military gents who worked in the Special Ops world. All are saying the same thing. This kid was not a day-to-day analyst or help desk guy. He’s a weekend warrior.

                      That seems to contradict the new claims that he was doing a lot of sys admin type work.

                      He also volunteered that the story about the # of docs and when they were uploaded to the original gamer site (remember they migrated from the original site to 2 other gamer sites, one by one, before getting picked up by Telegram and Twitter; I believe he stopped posting new docs after the migration; I need to recheck the claims as to when they were originally uploaded to the Discord server, but recall the ones talked about were dated end of Feb/early March and were pretty fresh as of the upload, they took a month to get to the wider world):

                      If so (and if we believe The Washington Post story about reviewing 300 classified document images) removing 300 pages is not going to be accomplished by stuffing those into his underwear. Just pick up a stack of 300 pages of paper and show me how that is done? I can understand purloining 15 pages. You can hide that, but not 300.

        3. Chet G

          Why limit the choices to

          (a) someone who exploited institutional incompetence and (b) a huge conspiracy,

          Why not a single real leaker versus having a convenient “fall guy”? Maybe the powers-that-be don’t want to touch (publicly) the real person, but having someone easy to blame allows much righteous chest beating.

        4. Yves Smith Post author

          This is not a matter of “thinks not working correctly”. This is a matter of no institutional mechanism whatsoever for theses CIA and FISA documents to be accessible by DoD personnel.

          The points Johnson make are:

          1. The official story is impossible

          2. The only place these information streams come together is ABOVE the DoD, CIA, and DoJ/FBI.

          1. Judy Lovelace

            So one possibility is that this guy was basically tech admin responsible for recycling old hard drives. Now even if hard drives were wiped, if it was done badly, it is possible to retrieve data from them. So these drives could come from anywhere in the institution. Now if senior figures from various institutions were emailing each other top secret documents (and given what senior politicians are prone to doing in the US, it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility), then some of these documents could have found themselves on hard drives that were sent for disposal.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              Please stop being dense and read the post as required by site Policies as a requirement of commenting

              A CIA hard drive and DoJ/FBI/FISA hard drive would NEVER be handled by the DoD.

          2. Old Jake

            You are implying that at some point someone at a sufficiently high level as to have access to the very restricted documents in all the required domains moved them from one domain to another, so that those documents could be found together. (?) Perhaps in the DoD domain. Whether there was a conspiracy, some stupidity or a combination of both is related but not the point.

            Now, put the collective thought processes back to work.

            1. Old Jake

              And as I read more comments, I see you say that directly. Someone at a high level collected at least some of these (all of them? I’d have to reread a lot to refresh). The guy who was picked up yesterday (OG if you believe everything you see in print) may very well have dropped the docs into a place anyone can find them. They would not have had access if someone had not put them in a place they did not belong. OG was, to at least some extent set up. Are they on suicide watch? Do the guards play computer games?

        5. Cine Tee

          Larry Johnson claimed that he checked with contacts currently in intelligence services.

          It doesn’t seem like much of a conspiracy for a leak with political consequences to be leaked by political level people. The documents are doing their job of managing the narrative behind the progressively bad news from Ukraine.

          The accused kid keeps up the image of an apolitical war, and may prove useful for potentially worse leaks that haven’t become public yet.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      Yes, this is what I don’t get. If the basic chain of facts is correct – that it was deliberately leaked onto a gamer discord server by persons unknown, then it requires quite a odd chain of events to pin it on this one lowly operative and a very, very elaborate (and unnecessarily complicated) scheme. Was he somehow conned into doing it himself, and if so, whats to prevent him arguing this in his defence? Is he part of the plot and will somehow be given a quiet exit in a year or two with a wad of cash? Was he completely ignorant of what was going on, and if so, how can they stop him using this as a defence? How to explain the very obvious alterations made to some of the figures (these tie into the argument that it was all just an idiot gamer trying to win an argument). How come that having put it on the server it took so long for it to be picked up by other sources?

      And most of all, I find it hard to see what the motivation is for this leak. I can see why some elements inside the system would want to set the stage for blaming all bad things on the Ukrainians in preparation for a retreat, but if this whole thing is an elaborate psyops or an attempt to change the narrative then a lot of people have gone to a lot of trouble to… tell us very little we don’t already know (notably, none of the MSM seem to have changed their Ukraine reporting one iota on the basis of information in the documents). Plus of course it makes the intelligent services look very stupid in letting someone like him have access, and I doubt they have much of an interest in making themselves look stupid (unless they are indulging in some very elaborate double and triple bluffs).

      I can’t help thinking that this is an enormous screw up of some type, and what we are seeing now is an attempt to distract from the screw-up, not the document itself. I wouldn’t discount that maybe the leak was deliberate, but somewhere along the line the original plot went badly wrong, and what we are seeing is an attempt to obscure the error.

      While Larry Johnson may be closer to the truth than 95% of the commentary on this – which has mostly been an exercise in confirmation bias – I don’t think it is anywhere near the full story. There would be far, far easier ways to ‘leak’ this information without indulging in this very convoluted plot.

      1. Louis Fyne

        “And most of all, I find it hard to see what the motivation is for this leak. ”

        internet dopamine/”street cred”—I understand if other people find such motivation implausible.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I mean the motivation for the intelligence services, not the alleged leaker. Having been a teenaged military nerd (pre-internet), I can well understand the motivation to do something incredibly stupid just to win an argument.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        See the tweet update by Micheal Tracey. There is further evidence that all of the docs CANNOT have been accessed from the information systems in a military base, even if from a SCIF.

        Why believe any of the story if the core is false? This is like trying to believe part of the “six men in a boat” Nord Stream explosions account.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I still find it dubious but yes, I take the point that the entire sequence of events could be an invention – it would be interesting to know if someone has evidence of the material having been on that server for several weeks, or whether it is an entirely concocted story.

          I’m still struggling to come up with convincing story of why a significant element of the intelligence services would do this. I honestly don’t see what faction/group/interest within the intelligence services gains enough from this to justify the effort and risk. It it was a genuine attempt to distance Washington from the upcoming Ukrainian collapse it doesn’t seem to me to be a very convincing way to do it. Or perhaps I’m missing something.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            Again you do not appear to have listened to Johnson.

            He describes why this could never never never have been done by someone at a military base. He says it has to have happened at an agency where the intel streams from different agencies converge. He fingers the Director of National Intelligence Office.

            He also signals that he thinks the choice of document was a bit shambolic.

            He signals that this may not have been/probably was not an action by the agency but some disaffected people in the agency.

            Recall Daniel Ellsberg was just one guy. But he also made clear in his book Secrets that he was far from alone in thinking the US would never win the war in Vietnam and was unhappy with all the official lying and unnecessary deaths.

            1. Sushi

              but some disaffected people in the agency.

              That is a definite possibility especially given the fact that Israeli military intelligence and other elements of their security state supported the recent social unrest in that country.

              There is the further evidence of the “RussiaGate Hoax” in which it is now known that senior members of the US elite conspired to undermine a lawfully elected sitting US President.

              If you are of the belief that Biden/Blinken/Nod are putting America on the brink of Armageddon for reasons of personal vanity then it becomes more likely the present case may be evidence of internal inter-agency conflict.

              Another interesting perspective is found in the assertion that Biden and son derived financial benefit from their Ukraine involvement. Perhaps Biden is seeking to protect his own “investments?” Or perhaps Z has kompromat on the “Big Guy.”

            2. PlutoniumKun

              Yes, that’s what I mean by ‘entire sequence of events’ (i.e. that it was leaked onto a discord server by a lowly operative at a base).

              But yes, I can see that it makes sense that rather than being an elaborate plot, this could have been released by a disaffected individual/groupsicle at a very high level and the Discord story is an panicky cover-up (possibly pre-planned for this eventuality).

              It still leaves a few questions though, not least why someone who decided to leak it would take such a weirdly indirect route rather than just send it directly to an interested media outlet or interest group. It also doesn’t explain the clumsy photoshopping of some pages (unless the original leakers deliberately intended to set some false trails).

      3. Ignacio

        Indeed a convoluted plot would it be. But this wouldn’t come as a big surprise after seeing what we are seeing in, for instance, the NS affair. The most damaging part of the leaks for the, regarding Ukraine, I cannot comment on the SK and Israel stuff, had to do with the apparent bad state of things in preparation of the Great Spring Offensive operation and if this was a forced leak they did it without taking in account what would be the reaction in Ukraine. That, wouldn’t surprise me (the fact that they didn’t notice this could be damaging for Zelenski’s regime). So they tried, in a way as botched as the 5 lads and a lass story in a boat, to distract with this “right wing” gamer leaker which has two additional purposes: First, would be to appeal to the liberal PMC, (that was easy) and second has probably to do with the act they are preparing to increase control of any communications media.

        Convoluted but no longer striking.

      4. ex-PFC Chuck

        “Is he part of the plot and will somehow be given a quiet exit in a year or two with a wad of cash?”

        It’s more likely he’ll be Epsteined. Then the narrative becomes, “The perp’s death by his own hand denotes his guilt. Move along; nothing more to see here.” Restrict Act here we come.

      5. Scylla

        My guess is that some of the leaks were indeed dropped into the public domain by someone like this OG person. I think it is entirely possible that someone high up then said, well we might as well make some lemonade out of this mess, and then dumped some additional documents in order to spread some particular information that they thought it would be helpful to put in the public domain to use for other purposes, or for straight-up disinformation, given that they have a perp to pin it on. So my theory is that it may very well have been multiple leaks, with each leak having a different purpose. And of course, another possibility- if the the leakers were widespread/uncoordinated, then the government has incentive to pin it all on a single person, rather than multiple leakers, as multiple leakers would make them look even more incompetent than they already do.
        In short, this is a mess, and the government is trying very hard to put toothpaste back in the tube- that much, I think we can all agree on. No doubt we will learn more in the fullness of time.

    3. Aaron

      Occam’s Razor fits a lot of different situations, but not all situations uniformly. When a situation is so complex, involving many different actors, motivations and short – and long- term ramifications, then the simple explanation is only the simplest explanation from your viewpoint.
      This isn’t a Mason Perry who dunnit.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Funny that you should mention Occam’s Razor. Just recently I had to make a visit to the hospital and while there, happened to mention it in a conversation. Neither a doctor or an experienced nurse had ever heard of it or had a clue what it was. In the end I suggested that they Google it.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          If they taught Occams Razor in medical school, 90% of doctors appointments would take 2 minutes and consist of being told to eat more fibre and take a walk.

          1. Cine Tee

            The other 18 minutes are for avoiding “Type II” error (or “beta error”).

            That’s the difference between science and clinical care, the “unknown unknowns” hide the worst case scenarios, but often that’s what we go to the doctor for.

            Similarly in any real single outlier situation, averaging methods (like Occam’s Razor) are false security.

            When you already know you’re in an outlier situation, you have to check for Zebras, and any other strange possibility you can think of.

  10. Stephen

    If an enlisted National Guard Airman really had access to such documents in their entirety then the Pentagon truly is a world laughing stock. Are we supposed to believe that his routine job was to print or collate such documents for more senior people and that he then just chose to disclose some on the servers of his gaming group? And that is how he was able to open them in the first place? Sounds very dubious, given he was not exactly in a unit at the centre of things. Why on earth his unit would read all of these documents routinely feels strange. Quite apart from Larry Johnson’s observation that the stash included non DoD documents.

    Alternatively, I guess we are being asked to believe that he simply hacked into the relevant servers or files without permission. Quite apart from cyber controls, one wonders what on earth his superiors were doing with respect to supervision. He is an Airman so presumably worked on routine matters in accordance with orders. How he was able to make time to do all this covertly from within a secure facility, and still do his assigned daily work is a question that needs to be asked. Larry Johnson asks exactly this question in his column and it is 100% valid. If we believe the official line then the whole Air Force system of supervision and management clearly needs a total overhaul. As well as its cyber controls.

    Of course, corporate media will not ask any of these questions.

    It might, of course, be as simple as the controls broke down and this person was able to access documents via some oversight. No conspiracy or more complex explanation involved. The problem is that many of us are so used to lies being told that we instinctively do not trust governments and media. That in itself is telling within what is meant to be a democratic society.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Documents in a SCIF are printed out only on an exception basis and the DoD can track every single person who printed a particular document.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          *Sigh*. This is NOT a matter of the printer. This is the login to the system to send the record to any printer. You need to log in under your user ID and password to access the network and all login activity is retained.

          I’ve been in private sector companies set up to run on NSA standards (as in tight access controls even as to who could to what parts of the premises, with a lot of balkanization). No one no how lets anyone else use their login. System logs you out after a short period of no activity

          Perhaps this guy was very clever about observing people who’d walk away w/o loging out, do mischief before they returned, and somehow logout and get out of eyeshot before they returned to their station. But do it often enough to rattle around this system to be able to access the high clearance DoD records? And then what about the CIA and DoJ/FBI ones?

          1. CNu

            This is the login to the system to send the record to any printer. You need to log in under your user ID and password to access the network and all login activity is retained.

            While partially correct, this is not the critical juncture. The critical juncture is at the printer itself where the job is stored and cannot be retrieved until you login at the printer. These print logs are the ones retained for security purposes.

            These printers and their logs are a constantly failing chokepoint for classified desktop services – constantly summoned to clear queues and retrieve jobs etc..,

            It is a fairly recent thing for this entire process to be audited, and, a source of controversy over who will own the onerous security plan (ISSO) for the entire process.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              This is not how it was done at the shop I was at that was also SUPER SUPER security conscious and at the time had the biggest private network in the world (as in second only to the Internet itself). The login to the system (Unix) and related records would retain all activity across the network, including viewing/fetching files from other users’ machines where the requesting user had permission, and printing and what files were printed. It was all retained as part of a particular session by that user, so no need for a separate record re printing. This network used NeXTs, which at the time was also preferred by the NSA, and the NeXT printers didn’t have memory of their own. Jobs thought it was poor design to have documents have to be loaded into the printer and he sought to correct that with the NeXT, which had proprietary printers.

              I suppose the issue a printer login is meant to address is that a doc could be loaded into a printer, the print aborted and the information retrieved from the printer. But wouldn’t a session record show an attempt to print? I’m not sure what problem the printer login solves if the sessions are recorded properly, which in an era of cheap storage should be not a big deal.

      1. Stephen

        Right. That process is even in place in the corporate world: in particular when people leave firms then downloads and print outs of documents are typically tracked and reviewed too these days in order to stop intellectual property “walking”, as you are no doubt aware. Maybe we are being asked to believe that he was able to falsify the tracking log too. It does all seem very fanciful.

        At the very least, there was a total break down of the monitoring and control processes. As seems more likely, more people are involved in this, including very senior ones.

        The possibility of a super simple explanation is there. But in itself it raises even more questions about Air Force / Pentagon competence. Would not in reality be so tidy. I wonder if they truly want to go there. Rhetorical question.

        1. nippersdad

          It seems pretty clear that someone high up in the Pentagon leaked this stuff to me. What I find interesting is how it was leaked; through a gamer site? Why would one assume that it would not remain in such a silo, as it ultimately did for a month, and not go the Greenwald/Hersh route to just get it out there in a more expeditious manner?

          It may be that this is the greater point. The vast majority of the stuff was common knowledge or could have been reasonably inferred. Maybe this was all a sacrificial lamb meant to underscore the dangers (to TPTB) of having an open internet in an age of imperial decline? Maybe this “articulate” kid is just the front man for an operation that he believes is meant to protect his country by shutting down free intercourse on the internet?

          As Macgregor said, it is not left wingers that join the military, and right wingers can define their patriotism in a multiplicity of ways which could manifest in many more. This could just be a case of taking one for the team.

          1. Stephen

            I agree. The leaking via a gamer site is a large part of this that feels odd. It possibly supports the idea that this was the work of a 21 year old gamer. But in line with you, Yves, Larry Johnson and many others I find that to be far fetched, or at least not the full story.

            Fascinatingly, corporate media / political comment seems to be along the lines of the government needing more powers to regulate the internet. If this really is purely the work of a 21 year old airman then a more obvious remedy would be to tighten up internal DoD processes. But that seems not to be on the agenda. Funny that.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            DID YOU NOT READ THE POST???

            Key documents were never in the Pentagon’s hands. The information had to come from above the Pentagon, where information streams from different agencies connect.

            1. nippersdad

              Of course I read the post!

              I light on the Pentagon for dissemination of the material because that is where there is a critical mass of foreign policy realists. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not have co-conspirators elsewhere that also want to spike the State Departments guns.

              Does it not strike you as odd that Milley, for example, would say that the war in Ukraine is lost and then twenty minutes later change his tune? That Burns would have such a deep knowledge of how the Russians would react to provocations in Ukraine when he was an ambassador to Russia and now seems to be fully on board with the project?

              There is a lot of duplicity going on in those circles, some of these people may just be fed up, but I still think that it would be the military that would have the most to lose were we to go to war on two fronts with nuclear armed powers. I just don’t think they are that stupid.

              1. Yves Smith Post author

                The Pentagon would never have gotten the CIA or FISA/DoJ/FBI doc about Israel. Please stop Making Shit Up.

                Also see the Micheal Tracey tweet which identifies docs that the Pentagon would not have received.

                Just because a party has motive does not mean they have ability.

                1. JBird4049

                  I know nothing about how security is done, but I have to ask why a person could not ask for the information? Like over lunch or a game?

                  So far it is the airman, which means national security is a clown show, or some disaffected people in the NSA who slapped together papers from different agencies silo’d from each other, or some Deep State op trying to get Chinese levels of censorship.

                  Just because the information was in different silos does not mean that people were. I am sure that many people are unhappy with the current situation especially internationally. People have beers, talk, and have gripe sessions at the bar or barbecue. I can imagine some people getting buzzed and angry, and then deciding to throw an information bombshell. “Look at what our leaders are actually doing!”

                  Just a suggestion as I think that we are looking at this with our own siloed minds.

                  1. Yves Smith Post author

                    People work in and inhabit different silos. They don’t know each other.

                    And go look up SCIF. I’m getting annoyed at having to explain that this information really is very tightly controlled. People who go to a SCIF (where info like this might be presented or read) are not allowed to bring in any electronic devices or even pencil and paper. They are physically examined when entering and leaving. The facilities are hardened v. electronic and visual snooping.

                    1. skippy

                      If you will allow me Yves …. this comes after the fall out of the WikiLeaks dramas. Systems should have been hardened and staff vetted appropriately to a war setting.

                      I ponder the ramifications of hiving off responsibility for future advancement with outsides consultancies due to ideological reasons and not rigorous internal management systems with blow back potential = mirrors the private sector – wink.

                      Now if it comes out this gamer kid [grew up with code and exploits] has knowledge/abilities to circumvent systems that were outsource or administrated by those without a clue … that’s an entire new ball game and the whole alphabet security agency needs to wake up e.g. political operatives seeking the next level vs institutional rigor.

                      Its just seeming like all the issues with corps after the GFC …. no head would roll no matter the down the road costs …

                    2. CNu

                      And go look up SCIF. I’m getting annoyed at having to explain that this information really is very tightly controlled.

                      Until about six months ago, these were called “inner areas”. The DIA is responsible for accrediting them, not GSA – and once accredited – they operate without the close physical supervision you imagine here. There are rare, occasional physical security checks at the inner area checkpoints.

                      There are continuously operating countermeasures in place to ensure that you don’t bring any electronic equipment into an inner area. If you do, and it happens inadvertently, then you get a “security incident”.

                      On the IT side of all this, even back in Larry Johnson’s day, things were nowhere near as airtight as he suggests.

                    3. Yves Smith Post author

                      You look to be out over your skis. I heard them described as SCIFs for years. Even my mere tax maven contact (as in decidedly non-military but with a freakish level of all sorts of other specialist knowledge) has been using that term in connection with viewing TPP documents when that was a hot topic, as in quite a while back.

                      And they are referred to as SCIFs in public releases, see:

             from 2017

            ; “We’ve Been Successfully Fulfilling SCIF Projects Since 2011”

                      Google shows 120,000 matching results from a search from 1/1/2000 to 1/1/2020. And looking through the results, they are DoD SCIFs, and not some other use of that acronym.

  11. dingusansich

    Larry Johnson knows the behind-the-scenes of the secrecy bureaucracy. That is granted. Yet going by the interview and his writing on the initial Discord leak(s), he knows that turf as an end user, in the condescending usage of the techies. If the young guardsman were on the server side in support, is it impossible that he could digitally dip his fingers where they didn’t belong? In large organizations this isn’t unheard of. Nor would it be altogether impossible that post-Snowden reforms amount to inconsistently enforced TSA shoe removal.

    So on this topic we may need to hear not from policymakers and analysts but from some inconspicuous drones in the tech department. The leaks may have had nothing to do with whistleblowing but everything to do with social status among online peers, the photos shared with a proviso tantamount to “Don’t tell Billy.” But if this less paranoid version of the original leak(s) is accurate, something similar can be said of a Top Secret classification as well.

    To be clear, the speculation above refers only to the initial Discord posting(s). What came after that probably gets immeasurably more complex as other players—state(s), media, bit-o’-both—jump into the game.

    1. Michaelmas

      If the young guardsman were on the server side in support, is it impossible that he could digitally dip his fingers where they didn’t belong?

      No. Not into a DoJ/FISA document and not — if Johnson is to be believed — into that particular kind of CIA document.

      There is no way — no channel — by which those two documents could somehow have migrated onto DoD servers under normally imaginable circumstances.

      1. Louis Fyne

        I wonder if: (a) such silo rules were loosened during Covid; and/or
        (b) there was a silo failure with the internal controls over the cloud(s) used by DoD and the intel services

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          No, go listen to the interview. That’s why I embedded it.

          Johnson has contacts who are current. They confirm no way no how did the CIA and DoJ/FBI records ever get on DoD servers.

    2. NoFreeWill

      As someone who worked at a very low level in IT, you’d be surprised at how much access is given and therefore possible. And that without much effort, if you want to you can get even farther.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        It is not a matter of access. It is a matter of no institutional mechanism for this to have happened.

        It would be like finding records from Citibank on your account at Vanguard.

  12. davejustdave

    What was interesting to me was the “cui bono” agreed upon between Larry Johnson and Judge Napolitano. According to their conspiracy theory, the documents which are hypothesized to have been “unavailable” to the leaker by his own efforts were being supplied to this young man by someone at a high level in order to innoculate Biden against the otherwise shocking collapse of Ukraine against Russia. Johnson and the Judge agree that the larger purpose of getting this information out there is to prepare the public for an outcome which is favorable to Russia – so that the loss will be seen as a consequence of the way things are, not incompetence on the part of the Biden administration.

    I too found the “minor” being interviewed “with his mother’s permission” by the WashPost to be a bit too glib and well-rehearsed – I never thought the Sandy Hook parents were “crisis actors”, but I could believe that this guy is.

    On the other hand, the “simpler” story – that this is just a guy with access to info who had concerns about the future of the country and wanted to impress his fellow gamers/bloggers – requires him to have been able to get access to all the info released on his own. Larry Johnson is telling us this is impossible.

    1. nippersdad

      “Johnson and the Judge agree that the larger purpose of getting this information out there is to prepare the public for an outcome which is favorable to Russia – so that the loss will be seen as a consequence of the way things are, not incompetence on the part of the Biden administration.”

      It would actually be worse than that. It will be seen as incompetence on the part of the neocon project going all the way back to the Ukraine orange revolution of ’04, and by inference all of their other projects world wide. Biden was not acting in a vacuum, this has been in production for a very long time now, so “the way things are” is a direct consequence of the arrogance of the bi-partisan neoconservative foreign policy employed by administrations since, what, at least Yugoslavia?

      As Karl Rove said, they have created their own reality*, only they are not going to be able to change it fast enough now that they no longer have the power to create new ones.

      *”We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out.”

    2. flora

      according to a theory, “the documents which are hypothesized to have been “unavailable” to the leaker by his own efforts were being supplied to this young man by someone at a high level ….”

      Deep Throat II ?

  13. paddy

    in addition to having appropriate “clearance” to access sensitive information the accessor must have “need to know”.

    the suspect at e-3 had little “need to know.”

    i have seen the concept “he was taking hardware to be repaired”????

    that is suspect because the air force and each service have ‘electronic security’ resources which handle repairs of machines in the secure system, and the machines are always afford protection at the level of sensitivity that they handled.

    too many questions, too many failures of long established, well resourced security protocols

    1. Questa Nota

      Chickenwire and duct tape can hold the story together only long enough to last until the next news cycle. Is 72 hours still a good working estimate for story life?

      With Tax Day approaching, maybe some juicy tales of tax evasion by celebrities or pols or anyone to serve as a lightning rod?

  14. Lex

    It’s all a bit too tidy. But it also doesn’t seem to be disinformation because it’s far too (potentially) damaging to US interests. The kremlin isn’t going to drop its guard because the leaks suggest Kiev is on its last legs nor would the Kremlin rely on the information to any degree beyond its ability to substantiate its own intelligence.

    I don’t buy the “build an off ramp” since that would come from much higher and there are far better ways to do it in the current media environment where outlets are essentially controlled and nobody blinks at anonymous single source attributions. Whistleblower doesn’t seem right either since the guy didn’t really try to publicize it at all.

    So I think there’s a high probability that the young man was used. Whether that was by internal anti-Biden/DoS factions or a foreign service, who knows. If it’s the latter I’d still put my money on Israel. If he just did it to do it, then it speaks to very deep rot at DoD and levels of dysfunction which suggest the whole thing be torn down and rebuilt before it collapses on itself.

    There is a TG channel which purports to have the whole batch, but it’s weird too as it’s brand new, has essentially nothing else on the channel and when I found it via a link it had 300 subscribers.

  15. flora

    an aside:
    Some strange thoughts in the back of my mind (where they should probably stay).

    I read about the rise of private armies, large private armies. Armies need weapons. Where does a private army buy its arms? Not at Home Depot.
    Then I’ve been reading about the corruption in Ukr. Trafficking of all sorts. I’ve been reading about all the weaponry the US and EU are sending Ukr, much of which never reaches the field in Ukr, according to reports. Where is that materiel? Where is all that materiel going? Who is getting rich?

    What does this random question have to do with the topic? Maybe a reason to clamp down even tighter on ‘citizen journalism’ or open questioning of events? Ok, foil bonnet off. / ;)

  16. Fred

    Maybe Teixeira was the bag man who was duped into this “leak” Will we ever know? Will he be allowed to speak his mind?

  17. tevhatch

    One of his contacts was interviewed on CNN, and the man-child sounded scripted and well above his age.

  18. The Rev Kev

    Gonzalo Lira just dropped a video where he says that it is the FBI investigating this case when it should be the military themselves. And the reason is that the White House controls the FBI and can get any result that they want. I do wonder if somebody at the top levels of government was feeding this kid those documents on the sly and thus setting him up. This whole thing stinks to high heaven though and too many things about this story are ‘off.’

  19. Bsn

    Regarding our recent discussions about weather NPR are puppets of the corporate state (military and “intel”) this sentence tells it all: “Though Brumfiel claimed that his roundup was “largely pointless,” he was effectively performing free labor for the Justice Department, and his posts may corroborate the identity of a suspect.”
    ….. performing free labor? I propose that he, and NPR in general, are being paid outright to promote and/or bury stories supportive of “the state”. He’s not doing it for free, he’s getting paid.

  20. Not Again

    No one is looking at the bright side: Due to its overwhelming sleuthing, America was able to find and capture Lee Harvey Oswald Teixeira in less than 48 hours. It’s just a matter of time before the FBI and CIA catch those “four Ukrainians on a boat” who blew up Nordsteam.

    Nothing to see here. BTW – Isn’t the RESTRICT Act coming up for a vote in the near future? Just one Reichstag fire after another. If there was only someone who could make the trains run on time.

  21. Alan F

    Thanks for posting this. The impossibility of this 21yo Guardsman being the original source was obvious to me, but the sources in this article are far more knowledgeable and authoritative than I can claim to be.

    Regarding this:

    It’s hard to know what to make of a world when Tucker Carlson makes more sense than pretty much anyone else with a big media platform.

    Yes indeed, but it’s 2023 and the world has gone mad. Trump made a lot more sense in 2016 than he should have, and the #1 reason I voted for him was fear that Hillary Clinton would start a war with Russia over Ukraine, that would turn nuclear. Four years of Trump was four years without a proxy war in Ukraine, at least a hot one, and one year of Biden produced the war I had feared from Hillary.

    The greatest enemy of all decent people, around the world, are the so-called “Neocons,” who are neither new nor conservative.

  22. Mike Adamson

    If the air base in question is a NORAD facility and if there is access to JWICS then it is possible that the story is as advertised. Time will tell I suppose.

    1. Louis Fyne

      “Cape Cod Air Force Station is the only land based radar site providing missile warning for the eastern coast of the United States and southern Canada against intercontinental and sea-launched ballistic missiles.”

      If I recall correctly, Cape Code is the origin of the first fighter planes responding to 9/11.

      So it is a NORAD facility?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      No, you are AGAIN missing the point. And your use of nomenclature is incorrect.

      The Cape Cod base does have a SCIF, installed sometime after 2017.

      But a SCIF is a DoD secure facility. It absolutely does not have access to CIA or DoJ/FBI/FISA records.

  23. ChrisFromGA

    So the kid has been formally charged:

    The alleged leaker faced formal charges of unauthorized removal, retention, and transmission of classified national defense information.


    Important to note that these charges, while serious, are hardly “throwing the book at him.”

    Some serious punches pulled there by the DoJ. Compare and contrast with Assange who faces the death penalty.

    Fill in the blanks from there. My guess is he’ll be home for Christmas, perhaps with a new identity.

    1. nippersdad

      One gets the impression that someone has just finally had it with all of the games playing and hole digging.

      In light of his “Nyet Means Nyet” background as a foreign policy realist while ambassador to Russia*, if CIA director Burns had not gone all in on the Ukraine war thing, he would be one of the first on my list of suspects for the initiation of such an op to take down the neocons. Hardly surprising were he to have sympathizers in the DOJ. I am sure there are a lot of people on the inside looking at the Nuland/Sullivan/Blinken cabal with horror right about now.


      1. ChrisFromGA

        As much as I want to believe that some unspecified adults in the room might finally shut down the Nuland/Blinken clown show, I see no visible reason to believe it will happen soon.

        I agree with what MacGregor said in the video linked here up the thread. The neocons are just one element of the clown show and it is up to the American people to cancel that show.

        Waiting for someone else to do the job is not a winning strategy. I guess a miracle could still happen, though.

        1. nippersdad

          Yep. MacGregor was saying that it was only the American people who can shut them down, but how can they do so when the political system is monopolized by two parties that have virtually the same foreign policy prescriptions? Nuland (prolly through her Husband, Robert Kagan) started as a Bush apparatchik before she was adopted by Hillary and then Biden.

          Is “Russia first, then China” or “China first, then Russia” really a choice?

          With the (possible) exception of Trump (low bar that it is, he didn’t start any new wars after all) I can trace a straight line from Clinton to Biden. TINA for the American people as long as the two party system rules out any real democracy other than that of donor class interests.

  24. TMartin

    To weigh in here: Shades of “Spy Kids”, “Tinker, Sailor, Soldier, Spy”, patsy Lee Harvey Oswald, & into the house of mirrors we go. Larry Johnnson raises some valid points. What is interesting, IMO, is that: 1) Usually when there is a suspect, the authorities don’t release names, so the one under investigation doesn’t destroy evidence or flee; 2) How does the WaPo get all their information and present it without verifying, e.g. the darkened chat room friend who was interviewed – who vetted him – the individual seemed too glib – no ems, ers, pauses of an ‘introverted teenager; 3) Tiexiera was sitting on the deck reading something when he was arrested. he doesn’t look up at the helicopter and he knows the FBI will be looking for him. (I’d be nervous as hell; 4) DOD request that the media not publish released intel. WaPo merrily publishes from a cache no one else is able to find!!! How does this work. The problem now is that the format for presenting TS briefings is out there so anybody can do a “TS Document Swap” and insert whatever and any facts and figures and who and how is the document verified. 5) it doesn’t make sense, if sensitive Russia intel is revelaed, might that not implicate someone who has infiltrated the Russian system? 6) Miley and Mullen apparently don’t read their briefing or they d, then lie about them. The WaPo and NYT apparently are incapable of owning up to the contradiction of quoting liars and then publishing documents which verify their lying.

  25. Dida

    I have no doubt that the interview is a setup. Several decades ago I worked as a journalist for a couple of years, and, given the industry limitations in my country at that time, I transcribed myself dozens of interviews.

    For what it’s worth, regular people would not able to provide so much relevant information, of almost sociological nature, regarding the motivations and character of a person, in such a condensed form. This is what Mcgregor means when he says that this friend is too ‘articulate’.

    With the exception of writers, psychologists, or HR managers, we are not that reflexive. And when the interview forces you to reflect, there would be some pauses and a search for the right words. The speech would show traces of the fact that, for the first time, you have to consider the person in this completely new light (as a security threat to the beloved USA!)

  26. flora

    Going waaay out on a limb: how do we authenticate the documents as real and not as part of a setup by various actors who would know how to compose docs in the correct way on the correct forms per the different agencie, including any watermarks?

    I haven’t read anything so far that sounds like something so secret you wouldn’t already know it from simply reading and paying attention to various sites. We’re losing in Ukr? That’s a secret? The US spys on everyone, including our allies? That’s a secret? There are US troops in Ukr.? That’s a secret? etc etc.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Big Serge addressed this point. He deemed the docs to be authentic by the volume of information that all tied together across records (details like correct designations of weapons systems deployed). He said it would have taken months for an independent party to construct something like this from whole cloth while this is only a month to six weeks stale.

  27. Rob

    This tidy narrative with a bow on top is not unlike the official version of the Nordstream pipelines sabotage. It’s too neat and leaves too many questions dangling in the air to be believable. As for the media participating in the hunt for the leaker, if nothing else, it satisfies the public’s appetite for true crime stories, even if this one turns out to be be untrue.


    As a reader, I appreciate the author’s skepticism and critical analysis of the Washington Post’s story on the Air National Guardsman who allegedly leaked classified documents. It is concerning that the media seems to be getting ahead of the investigation and potentially jeopardizing the due process of the accused. The author raises valid points about the lack of journalistic integrity in the Post’s story and the potential involvement of official sources. I am curious to see how this story unfolds and whether more information comes to light.

  29. truly

    I am confused on the timeline of this. It seems the documents were put on a public forum a month ago? And they sat there with minimal views all this time, and now suddenly they move front and center, pushed there by MSM who simultaneously told us we shouldn’t be looking at or reading this material.
    So if the young man could not have done this, then assumably some more sophisticated actor did? But that other person or entity couldn’t move the documents out of a dark quiet place on the Internet to a more visible spot?
    Figuring out why the timeline is so odd might give us a hint as to who would have done this, or at least why it was done.

  30. skippy

    I’m going to spoil the whole party because of 9/11 and regardless of how you cut it the one guy that was experience and informed went down with the tower he was in …. because “the game” must never end ….

  31. taber

    The media still haven’t explained how ‘eyes only’ for five nations documents were able to be read in plain form by a guy in a low ranking office, where he should not have had access to the files at all
    Media also running stories of how limbless soldiers are being fitted with prosthetics to return to the front line, hardly the treatment casualties expect if all is going well. These men also admit to have been fighting for over 6 years, so members of the Azov Battalion is probable (Sky News have said that Azov ‘is no longer fascist’, now admitting that it once was), without giving an explanation of the de Nazification process

  32. orlbucfan

    I thought OG meant ‘Old Gamer,’ since supposedly, the ‘leaker’ is 21. That used to be a bit old to be playing games. My BS meter has been in the red since this whole deal started. Why would a lowly National Guardsman have access to highly classified military info? That makes absolutely no sense. Sure wish this stupid war would end, but that’s asking too much of the rabid war lovers, and the greedballs exploiting them.

  33. bill wolfe

    This is the second big shoe dropping, the first was the Hersh Nord Stream sabotage. Motives are a Ukraine crash landing (exit) and force Biden out LBJ style for blowing the cover on Nord Stream.

  34. Jeffrey Kaye

    All the news that’s fit to print?

    I’m tired out from efforts to get my discovery of dozens of CIA documents that describe AFSA (predecessor to NSA) COMINT intercepts of North Korean and Chinese military units reacting to US bioweapons attacks throughout the year 1952. No mainstream outlet or historian will have anything to do with it. I think this blog published a couple of links, for which I am grateful.

    The contrast between the neglect of very newsworthy documents that substantiate US war crimes and the current “leak” tell me most of what I need to know about the reality of our “free” press.

    Here, for public consumption once again, is my original story on the documents, including links so readers can download for themselves. There’s a lot more information and documents I’ve gathered on the subject, but I won’t spam the comments section.

  35. Glen

    I’m a little late to this, and think the analysis above is pretty sound. Just one thing got my attention, and I don’t think it’s wrong, just lamentable:

    This may come as a shock to most of your viewers, but almost no one who volunteers to fight in the armed forces of the United States of America is a left-winger.

    My dad served, I served, and my son served. We are all probably that most hated of all political leaners – old time FDR Democrats. Pretty much an extinct species of voter. To say that I’m disgusted with our current crop of Democrats is putting it mildly.

    To be honest, I think it’s a complete shame that more people do not do some sort of service. It doesn’t have to be in the military, although I will point out that the military is certainly the most “socialist” of all the ways one can work for the government. It’s just that I think our government works better when everybody takes a little bit more active participation. Right now, I would say that most people’s perception is that one “buys” government action, and I think that’s a correct perception, but it means that the 99% will never get proper representation. People should be much more outraged about this than they are, and they would be if they had served.

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