Accused leaker Jack Teixeira was granted top-secret clearance after being denied a gun license for a school threat

Since his arrest for allegedly leaking classified documents that “hostile nation states” would love to possess, folks have wondered how 21-year-old Air National Guardsman Jack Teixeira could have possibly had access to such sensitive materials.

The question is now more relevant than ever, thanks to court documents filed by prosecutors revealing that, while a sophomore at Dighton-Rehoboth Regional High School, Teixeira was suspended after a classmate “overheard him make remarks about weapons, including Molotov cocktails, guns at the school, and racial threats.”

The March 2018 incident “prompted Massachusetts authorities twice to deny the B-average student a firearms identification card, a license to possess and carry guns issued by local police departments,” The Wall Street Journal reports. “Authorities cited local police concerns about his actions in high school.”

It wasn’t until after Teixeira was granted his security clearance that he was given a gun license.

Forget his age.

How does someone who can’t be trusted to handle a gun manage to receive a top-secret security clearance?

Former and current national security officials claim the problem is indicative of “lapses in the clearance process.”

“The U.S. government’s process for granting clearance is geared toward weeding out individuals with financial problems, suspicious overseas ties, a pattern of drug use, or disqualifying criminal records,” The Journal explains. “It is less focused on reviewing social-media postings.”

According to the National Security Agency’s former top attorney, Glenn Gerstell, it’s “not an easy problem to solve.”

“Repugnant views and having lots of guns in your bedroom are not automatically going to disqualify you for a security clearance,” he said, adding that routine counterintelligence-focused screenings may not have caught Teixeira’s threatening posts, if, indeed, they exist.

The process of vetting people for a security clearance “does not include automated checks of social media or chat rooms,” according to the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency, tasked with approving clearances for the U.S. military.

Even if they wanted to check online posts, there aren’t enough qualified IT and cybersecurity experts will to work for the U.S. government.

“Evan Lesser, president of, which connects employers with potential employees who have clearances, said his site lists about 75,000 jobs that require security clearances and about 65% to 70% of those are in information technology or engineering,” The Journal reports. “The need to fill so many critical jobs may sometimes contribute to less robust vetting standards, former officials have said.”

If the prosecutors are to be believed, Teixeira’s clearance is nothing short of bone-chilling.

According to The Wall Street Journal:

In one of his earliest messages, he wrote he hoped Islamic State successfully carried out a purported planned attack at the World Cup. “If I had my way,” he wrote, he would kill a “ton of people,” adding a four-letter expletive. One month later, he began leaking top security documents, according to the prosecution’s court filings.

By early 2023, the 21-year-old admitted sharing national security secrets, told his online associates that he was rooting for groups like Islamic State, and used his government computer to search terms like “Las Vegas shooting” and “Uvalde,” referring to the May 2022 shooting in Texas that killed 19 students and two teachers, according to court documents. When news of his actions began to appear in the media, prosecutors said, he asked his friends to delete all messages and remain silent. Federal prosecutors said he had a cache of weapons, some of which he kept just feet from his bed.


On Twitter, news of Teixeira’s purported past is further shaking people’s already eroded confidence in the government.

“Our government is hopelessly broken,” stated author Brian Doherty.

“The very agencies on which we rely and which have served notice on us can’t even do their core responsibilities,” wrote another user.

“Harder to get a gun [than] it is to get state secrets,” tweeted a third. “Maybe the people in charge of executing the laws are the issue.”


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Melissa Fine


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