ISD Senior OSINT Analyst Elise Thomas features in TIME commenting on the case of Jack Teixeira, the US Air National Guardsman that leaked classified military documents through online forums last month. Although he had a security clearance and was entrusted with US intelligence, Teixeira’s case is just the latest example exposing a long-debated blind spot in the security vetting process: online behavior. During this time, the former airman had been regularly posting about “violence and murder,” been researching about mass shootings and had been stocking up on weapons in his home, but none of it came up during his clearances. Elise comments on if asking applicants to disclose online profiles would solve the problem, pointing out the quickly evolving online ecosystem and the alternate platforms that are emerging like Discord– the chat platform Teixeira used to leak those classified documents. A platform structured like Discord would make it “complex and time-consuming to get the full picture of what’s going on,” and having to mine through the voice chat feature would make it ‘unrealistically time-consuming to monitor,’ she said. “Short of someone sitting there all day listening in, which would be a huge drain on resources, potentially a privacy and civil liberties concern, and a waste of time 99.99% of the time,” referring to the ‘false positives’ that would likely come up when attempting to continuously vet the vast number of US government personnel.
The full article is available on Time.
Elise is the co-author of ISD report ‘Gaming and extremism: The extreme right on Discord.’