A recent investigation by The New York Times has uncovered the source of leaked classified US intelligence reports. It began with the appearance of four items on Russian channels in the messaging app Telegram, each consisting of a photograph of a classified intelligence report. A freelance reporter working with The New York Times, Aric Toler, found that several similar documents had been posted elsewhere, but he could not find the original source of the leaks. A tip led Toler to a Discord channel dedicated to maps for the video game Minecraft, where he found ten documents and contacted the host. The host denied being the leaker and explained that the documents came from a chat group called wow_mao. There, a user named Lucca had posted over 100 images of leaked documents.

Jack Teixeira, an Air National Guardsman, in a photo posted on social media.Credit...Reuters

Further investigation by two other Visual Investigations reporters from The New York Times, Christiaan Triebert and Malachy Browne, led to the discovery of the original leaker, known only as O.G. According to a former member of Thug Shaker, a chat group where the documents were uploaded, O.G. had started posting the documents to the group last fall. O.G. worked at a military facility and had played video games with the former member. Using Steam, a platform where users connect with other players, the reporters looked for accounts linked to the former member and found one with the original username of jackdjdtex, which led them to a person named J Teixeira. The reporters found several photos of J Teixeira, including one of him in a military uniform standing near a brown-and-white-speckled granite countertop.

On Wednesday, Christiaan and Malachy spoke to another Discord member who had downloaded a new trove of 27 photographs of leaked documents. In some of the photos, the reporters noticed the surface on which the documents were sitting was a brown-and-white kitchen countertop. The next day, The New York Times sent a team to the Teixeira home in North Dighton, Massachusetts, where they saw J Teixeira and his stepfather, Thomas Dufault, a retired Air Force master sergeant. The stepfather declined to allow The New York Times to speak with J Teixeira, who he said would only communicate with an attorney. Shortly afterward, a SWAT team arrived at the Teixeira home.