War, Weapons, and Conspiracy Theories: Inside Airman Teixeira’s Online World
Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira, who was recently implicated in a massive leak of classified documents, had an obsession with weapons, mass shootings, and conspiracy theories. He wanted to prove that he was always right and had insider knowledge. Despite relishing the respect and intelligence he gained from his military service and top secret clearance, he also harbored contempt towards the government. Teixeira accused the United States of being involved in secret and nefarious activities, including creating biological and chemical weapons in Ukrainian labs, supporting the Islamic State, and orchestrating mass shootings as a ploy to win support for gun control.
Revisiting more than 9,500 messages posted by Teixeira on the online social media platform Discord obtained by The New York Times, one can find many unanswered questions about his motivations and some gaps in court filings. The messages convey important clues towards understanding Teixeira’s mindset, particularly with regards to the creation of the idea that he was constructing an insider newsletter. He took pride in working at a secure facility on a military base on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, that he called “the box,” while frequently using jargon that signaled his top-secret security clearance. The airman developed a reputation among his Discord friends, who fondly called him “intel man” or “3 letter man” because of the persistent leaks of intelligence gathered by government agencies.
Teixeira, who had been charged with two counts related to the unauthorized handling of classified materials, could face 25 years in prison for his involvement in the leak. One of the previously unreported chat logs obtained by the Times shows that he was also involved in sharing U.S. intelligence on Ukrainian readiness, battlefield commands from the Kremlin, and secret arms shipments by American allies. Moreover, the messages show that when the Russian invasion of Ukraine was taking place, many members of his group were intensely curious about the intelligence he provided.
Although it is hard to pin down Teixeira’s ideology from his messages, they are generally consistent with someone who is right of center. However, he accused everyone of funding various organizations and starting wars, ranging from Republicans to former presidents such as Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald J. Trump. He expressed vehement opposition to firearms restrictions and enjoyed criticizing various gun control measures.
Federal prosecutors called for Teixeira’s indefinite detention and cited his arsenal of weapons and history of violent behavior. The filing also included excerpts from social media chats from 2022 and 2023 where Teixeira expressed a desire to kill a “ton of people” and cull “weak-minded” individuals. Despite being hyperbole, posts reviewed by the Times show he had multiple firearms and was firing them in various videos, with one of them resembling target practice.
Teixeira also showed a clear fascination with mass shootings, which he referred to as “cool” and “fun.” He adopted a detached sensibility similar to his posts about the war in Ukraine, focusing more on gear than the human toll of their use. One of Teixeira’s Discord friends revealed that the airman had discussed various ambitions, including modifying vehicles that could be outfitted with weapons, hog hunting in rural New England, and confronting protesters during the 2024 presidential campaign. The friend was unsure if Teixeira intended to execute any of these plans.
The chat logs analyzed by the Times and reviewed by hundreds of members on Discord also raise significant questions about Teixeira’s motivations, leaving much unanswered. However, one can conclude that he had an obsessive personality and was potentially dangerous when allowed access to firearms and military grade gear.