Rightwing Edgelords Are the Real Threat to National Security

“The amount of Three Percenters and Boogaloo guys I work with is untenable,” said one Department of Defense worker.
This photo illustration created shows the suspect, national guardsman Jack Teixeira, reflected in an image of the Pentagon in Washington, DC. (Photo by STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Since the beginning of the Biden Administration, the GOP has painstakingly attacked the Pentagon as a “woke” institution that’s somehow morphing the military and the nation into a soft power. Drag queen story hours and “DEI” (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion) training have become buzzwords for institutional rot, popping up on Fox News and in congressional committees as national security threats destroying the Department of Defense.


Then last week it was revealed that perhaps the most damaging unauthorized disclosure of U.S. intelligence since Wikileaks, wasn’t laid at the hands of some “woke warrior” but apparent Discord edgelord and national guardsman Jack Teixeira, highlighting what ideological beliefs might actually pose a threat to the U.S. government.

A gun and military gear enthusiast, Teixeira led a Discord server made up of young men and reportedly appears in a video firing a weapon while yelling antisemitic epithets (the chatroom was also reportedly rife with racist shitpostings). He was even touted as a posterboy for the extremist corners of the right, including Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor-Greene who called him “white, male, Christian, and anti-war”—a reference to the anti-Ukraine War sentiment among Republicans. Teixeira has been charged with the removal, retention, and transmission of classified documents and could face over a decade in prison if convicted. 


While it isn’t exactly clear what Teixeira’s beliefs or motivations were, the behavior on the Discord certainly bears the hallmarks of an edgelord; usually very online, young men posting mock-shocking memes and comments for lols and kudos among each other. Someone allegedly taking classified information to impress their chaos-loving online friends is yet another security threat to a defense force that military sources say has yet to even properly handle individuals with anti-government or extremist beliefs.  

“It highlights the need to screen harder in our clearance process,” said a veteran and Department of Defense worker who was not authorized to speak to the media. They said that even in the intelligence world, seeing people who voice support for the militia movement, long understood to be a veiled version of white supremacy and anti-governmentalism, isn’t shocking. 

“I’m not saying Republicans can’t have clearances, but the amount of Three Percenters and Boogaloo guys I work with is untenable,” they said, referring to two extremist groups that were active during the attacks on January 6. 

It’s well established that there is a threat of rightwing extremist violence among a minority of both active duty servicemen and veterans, but they can also clearly be an intelligence threat. The latest leaks alone likely led to the delay of a multibillion dollar Ukrainian counteroffensive against Russia and major headaches between Washington and some of its key allies. 


“Right-wing extremists in the military pose security risks beyond their potential for violence,” said Joshua Fisher-Birch, an expert on the far right at the Counter Extremism Project, a New York City-based nonprofit terrorism watchdog. “The recent leak case highlights the possibility that individuals could share sensitive information with a broader online audience or with potential extremists or other hostile actors. Ideological views that sympathize with a U.S. opponent might also heighten the risk of sharing sensitive information.”

Are you a member of the military and have a tip for us? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Ben Makuch on email at or on the Wire app @benmakuch.

Other military sources have told VICE News in the past that seeing active duty servicemen posting in support of Kyle Rittenhouse or Boogaloos Bois employed at the NSA, is not unheard of. For example, a Marine who not only participated in the Jan. 6 insurrection on Capitol Hill and charged for his actions that day, was then assigned to a post inside the NSA in 2021, which required a high-level security clearance. 


According to Fisher-Birch, from a classical counterintelligence perspective, having far-right sympathies and posting about them publicly has the added problem of exposing an individual to bribery or being flipped into a foreign asset. 

There’s already signs that some U.S. service people have been susceptible to foreign interests recently. 

On Sunday, news broke that one of the key online disseminators of the Pentagon leaks was a pro-Kremlin (and pro-Wagner mercenary group) blog overseen by the alias “Donbas Devushka,” but was later unmasked as 37-year old Sarah Bils, an ex-Naval noncommissioned officer living in Washington state. Beginning last year, Bils reportedly worked behind the scenes of the blog, while still in uniform and is now facing an FBI investigation into her activities.

“Involvement in political extremism could also make an individual a target for blackmail,” said Fisher-Birch, while they could also be pressured into sharing “their training and other skills gained while in uniform with ideological allies.”

Some Republican lawmakers have publicly embraced policies that counter the U.S. government's national security goals, which has created political divisions inside institutions like the military and intelligence services. Other GOP operators have also been instrumental in spreading the idea that the Pentagon is somehow suffering from progressive human resource policies and not with the insider threat of a shadow Boogaloo contingent walking its halls.

“I guess my question is how much taxpayer money should go to fund drag queen story hours on military bases?” asked Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz, during a House Armed Services Committee weeks ago to top Department of Defense officials. In the same week of questioning, a number of Republican senators doubled down, railing against the military and its “woke agenda,” with Alabama Senator Tommy Tuberville going so far as to label Pentagon initiatives focusing on diversity as “hell” for American troops that are damaging America’s ability to fight wars and recruit new soldiers.

Some of the GOP talking points in recent years have become indistinguishable from far-right trolls on Telegram pages or 4Chan: Whether it's calling for the dissolution of NATO, specific attacks on Pentagon officials, or antisemitic conspiracy theories surrounding billionaire George Soros, it’s the type of rhetoric that enemy intelligence services have sought to amplify as a means of destabilizing the U.S. government.

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