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Anonymous Whistleblowing or Psyop?

Travis Cunha

Apr 19, 2023

On April 8, 2023, classified military documents from the Pentagon were leaked, sparking a frenzied reaction from the media. The leaked documents contained sensitive information about the Ukraine/Russia conflict, including casualties, arms transfers, and plans for the upcoming Ukrainian Spring counteroffensive. Additionally, the leak revealed potential arms deals between Turkey and the Wagner Group, as well as information regarding the U.S. surveillance of Israel and South Korea. Interestingly, there were reportedly three other incidents involving Chinese spy balloons that went unreported, one of which flew over a U.S. carrier ship in the South China Sea.


The manner in which the leaked information was released, coupled with the response from the U.S. government, has left many questioning the authenticity of the disclosure. Was this a genuine act of patriotism akin to Edward Snowden's, or is it merely the latest political hoax?


Just days after the document leak, President Joe Biden disclosed that intelligence units were making progress in identifying the culprit responsible. As per Bellingcat, the leaked files' images were initially uploaded on Discord in March, but remained unnoticed by the group members for weeks. The account "OG" responsible for the post was discovered to be an individual stationed at a U.S. military base. Although it was anticipated that a high-ranking military official from one of the four prominent branches was behind the leak, it was not the case. On April 13, authorities arrested Jack Teixeira, a 21-year-old resident, without incident, and searched his house. According to Attorney General Merrick Garland, Teixeira faces charges of "unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information." Surprisingly, the individual behind the "OG" account was not a high-ranking military officer but a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard, who had only been called to active service in the autumn of last year. How did this young man obtain access to such highly confidential information? It appears that Teixeira was employed as an IT specialist at the Otis Air National Guard Base in Massachusetts, which granted him access to classified information.



The media seems to have concluded that the 21-year-old Jack Teixeira was solely responsible for the release of the classified information on a gaming forum. However, upon closer examination of certain aspects of the situation, an alternative narrative emerges. Firstly, it is peculiar that Bellingcat was the one to discover that the leaked information originated from Discord, rather than another user on the platform. Bellingcat has faced scrutiny over its funding, with accusations of its CEO being a CIA operative. The group's website states that it can receive donations from international or intergovernmental institutions such as the United Nations or the European Commission. A Grayzone article from October 2021 uncovered that the group has received substantial contributions from both the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Given their close ties with U.S. authorities, it is plausible that a group like Bellingcat could have knowledge of where to obtain such confidential documents.


Compare this to another leak that came earlier this year when Seymour Hersch exposed the United States for being the guilty party behind the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline bombing, the government and media took a much different approach. The claims made by Hersch were immediately denied, and a host of Western media sites jumped at the opportunity to slander Hersch, even though the New York Times eventually stated it was “Pro-Ukranian” forces which were responsible. Shortly after the immediate reaction discrediting Hersch, media went completely silent on the issue and was not relevant in the media until Donald Trump recently spoke about the situation. Even with the knowledge coming from different news agencies and government agencies, the United States has still refused to conduct an investigation.


In contrast, when Seymour Hersch exposed the United States as being responsible for the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline bombing earlier this year, the government and media reacted differently. Hersch's claims were swiftly denied, and a multitude of Western media outlets took the opportunity to discredit him. The New York Times eventually claimed that "Pro-Ukranian" forces were to blame. After the initial response discrediting Hersch, the media went silent on the issue, only resurfacing recently when Donald Trump commented on the matter. Despite various news and government agencies confirming the incident, the United States has declined to investigate.


If the leaked information on the Discord server was indeed genuine, why would the U.S. government purposely draw attention to it? It has been acknowledged that the photos were on Discord for approximately a month before they were discovered by Bellingcat or anyone else. Erasing the photo's history before they were noticed, followed by an internal investigation, would undoubtedly be better for national security than allowing them to be shared. Moreover, the response from the government and media has been notably distinct from the Hersch leak. The U.S. media has been providing updates on the Teixeira case hourly, with photographs and detailed reports on Teixeira and his background. If the information was factual, we would expect a reaction like that of the Hersch story: quickly denying the information and enforcing a media blackout to divert public attention to another topic. As this story progresses, it would not be surprising to learn that Teixeira was a pawn, working under the direction of politically influential individuals.

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