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May 18, 2023

New details about the Pentagon Leak

(Updated: May 22, 2023)

Last month it became clear that junior airman Jack Teixeira had posted highly classified military intelligence information on a Discord server, which became known as the Discord or Pentagon Leak.

Here I will discuss some additional details from the documents filed by the public prosecutor on April 26 and May 17, which provide some more insight into Teixeira's training, clearance and working environment.

Technical training

Op September 26, 2019, Teixeira had joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard and started working at the 102nd Intelligence Wing as a "Cyber Transport Specialist" - according to a letter he wrote to a local law enforcement officer on November 15, 2020.

In that letter, Teixeira tried to convince the officer that he had matured and changed since he was suspended for a few days at his high school in March 2018 after making racial threats and remarks about guns and Molotov cocktails. After having enlisted and obtaining a Top Secret clearance, he thought he was eligible again for the Firearms ID that was denied after the incident.

A few months after joining the National Guard, on November 15, 2019, Teixeira had registred at the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF), which offers a variety of courses and programs to earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree. According to the transcript shown below, he completed the following courses:

- US Air Force Basic Military Training at Lackland Air Force Base on August 13, 2020
- Information Technology Fundamentals at Keesler Air Force Base on February 16, 2021
- Cyber Transport Systems also at Keesler Air Force Base on April 29, 2021

Transcript of the courses which Jack Teixeira took at
the Community College of the Air Force (CCAF)
(click to enlarge)

Sensitive Compartmented Information

Right at the start of his training at the CCAF, Teixeira was apparently already granted a regular ("collateral") Top Secret clearance. Just over two months after completing his last course, this clearance was extended to Top Secret/SCI, which means he got access to even more closely guarded information.

The prescribed Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement (SCINA) was signed by Teixeira and an undisclosed witness on July 7, 2021. This form has 12 spaces where the particular control systems for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) or Special Access Programs (SAPs) can be filled in:

Jack Teixeira's Sensitive Compartmented Information Nondisclosure Agreement
(click to enlarge)

According to the form, Teixeira was briefed for access ("indoctrinated") to the following Sensitive Compartmented Information control systems:

- SI = Special Intelligence (communications intelligence)
- TK = TALENT-KEYHOLE (intelligence from satellite collection)
- G = GAMMA (sensitive communication intercepts)
- HCS-P = HUMINT Control System-Product (intelligence from human sources)

This shows that Teixeira had legitimate access to all the SCI compartments seen in the documents that he leaked, so apparently the only thing he lacked was the specific need-to-know.

A week later, on July 15, 2021, Teixeira digitally signed the General Information Systems Acceptable Use Policy and User Agreement of the 102nd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group, which says that his actual workplace was at the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron (ISS).

Another two weeks later, on July 28, he also signed the Information Technology User Agreement of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, with numerous rules for using the organization's computer systems, including "I will not disclose any non-public Air Force or DoD information to unauthorized individuals."

Finally, on March 3, 2022, after one hour of e-learning, Jack Teixeira also completed a course about Unauthorized Disclosure (UD) of Classified Information and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), as provided by the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency.

The Intelligence Support Squadron

On October 1, 2021, Teixeira started as a Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman with the rank of Airman Basic (AB) and pay grade E-1 at the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron (ISS).

The ISS comprises more than 100 military, civilian and contractor Cyberspace Support professionals who maintain their part of the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF-DCGS), also known as the AN/GSQ-272 SENTINEL weapon system. This includes ensuring the availability and integrity of networks and equipment, software installation and support, information system security, communications security, and everything related.

The ISS is part of the 102nd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), which in turn is part of the 102nd Intelligence Wing (IW). This wing was established in 2009 after the Air National Guard's 102nd Fighter Wing had lost its flying mission due to the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC).

Men and women from the former flying units were transitioned to the new Intelligence Wing and trained to work on the DCGS, learning to run its computers and analyze intelligence from spy planes and the ever-increasing number of drones. One of them was Jack Teixeira's stepfather.

Military personnel operating the Air Force Distributed Common Ground System
(photo: US Air Force - click to enlarge)

The Distributed Common Ground System

The Distributed Common Ground System (DCGS) is a system-of-systems for passing data from intelligence collection platforms along to combatant commanders and warfighters. There are separate versions for the Navy (DCGS-N), the Army (DCGS-A), the Air Force (AF-DCGS), the Marine Corps (DCGS-MC) and the Special Operations Forces (DCGS-SOF).

In 2015, the DCGS of the Air Force exploited more than 50 manned and unmanned aircraft sorties, reviewed over 1200 hours of motion imagery, produced approximately 3000 signals intelligence reports, exploited 1250 still images and managed a total of 20 terabytes of data each day.

The AF-DCGS had started small at Langley AFB in Virginia, Beale AFB in California and Osan Air Base in South Korea, but expanded in the early 2000s as demand for airborne surveillance surged. Soon, Ramstein Air Base in Germany and Hickam AFB in Honolulu were added, which make a total of five core sites, or Distributed Ground Stations (DGS).

The system is also installed at 16 additional sites: DGS‑Experimental at Langley AFB, 7 Air National Guard (ANG) sites and 8 Distributed Mission Sites (DMS). These DGS and DMS sites are manned by a mixture of active-duty, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and coalition partner units working to provide an integrated combat capability.

The Air Force Distributed Common Ground System (AF DCGS) in 2015
(source - click to enlarge)

The AF-DCGS core site at Ramstein Air Base is backed-up by the Distributed Ground Station-Massachusetts (DGS-MA), which was established in December 2009. This site is operated by the 102nd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), which performs near-real-time exploitation and analysis of video feeds from the U-2 spy plane, as well as from the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drones.

Ramstein is a crucial hub for drone operations, first for those in Iraq and Afghanistan, and now in support of Ukraine in its war with Russia. Because of moral doubts about the American drone program, NGA intelligence analyst Daniel Hale leaked The Drone Papers to The Intercept in 2014.

Suspicious behaviour

Teixeira said that at the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron he was initially "assigned to middle eastern intelligence gathering tasks". In November 2022 he wrote in his Discord server that he worked with "NRO, NSA, NGA, and DIA people mostly", that he was "on JWICS weekly" and "knowing what happens more than pretty much anyone else is cool."

JWICS stands for Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System and is a highly secured computer and communications network for collaboration and sharing intelligence up to the classification level Top Secret/SCI among US intelligence agencies.

According to documents filed by the public prosecutor on May 17, 2023, Teixeira had been observed looking for classified intelligence information in the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) of the 102nd Intelligence Wing, which is located in building 169 at Otis Air National Guard Base on Joint Base Cape Cod.

The entrance to Joint Base Cape Cod in Pocasset, Massachusetts
(photo: CJ Gunther/EPA - click to enlarge)

The first time was in September 2022, when a staff sergeant saw that Teixeira had taken notes of classified information and put the note in his pocket. The staff sergeant asked Teixeira if he planned to shread it and informed a master sergeant. They discussed the incident with Teixeira, who was "instructed to no longer take notes in any form on classified intelligence information."

On October 25, it became clear that Teixeira was "potentially ignoring the cease-and-desist order on deep diving into intelligence information", because five days earlier he had attended the ISS morning meeting where the weekly Current Intelligence Briefing (CIB) was being given, after which Teixeira proceeded to ask very specific questions.

Teixeira was once again instructed to cease-and-desist any deep dives into classified information and to focus on his job in supporting Cyber Defense Operations (Air Force Specialty Code 1D). Additionally, he was offered the opportunity to explore cross training for All Source Intelligence Analyst (1N0) or Cyber Intelligence (1N4), which he declined.

All this didn't stop him, because a third memorandum for the record filed by the prosecutor says that on January 30, 2023, a master sergeant "was walking the Ops [Operations] floor when she observed A1C [Airman 1st Class] Teixeira on a JWICS machine viewing content that was not related to his primary duty and was related to the intelligence field."

The Desktop Environment (DTE), a uniform platform for the
US Intelligence Community, running on the JWICS network.

The fact that apparently no further action was taken against Teixeira might have led to the suspension, last April, of the commander of the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron and the detachment commander overseeing administrative support.

Teixeira's behaviour is very similar to that of Edward Snowden, who also had an almost insatiable desire for information regardless of whether he was entitled to it. In his book Permanent Record, Snowden proudly recalled how easy it was to circumvent auditing controls and internal monitoring systems.

Whether Teixeira circumvented such control systems as well is still unclear. While he could apparently access intelligence information on the JWICS network, he definitely didn't have the need-to-know for the material he eventually posted on his Discord server, which included intelligence briefings for senior military commanders and civilian policy makers.

Title of the Daily Intelligence Update for the Secretary of Defense and
the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from February 28, 2023
(leaked by Jack Teixeira - click to enlarge)

Network monitoring

After Jack Teixeira had been arrested on April 13, 2023, various agencies started an investigation into his case. One was an audit of an "Intelligence Community-wide system for which U.S. Government Agency 2 acts as a service provider", which most likely refers to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the JWICS network.

This audit, which yielded results dating back to February 26, 2022, revealed that Teixeira had accessed hundreds of classified reports and documents and conducted "hundreds of searches on the classified network on a number of subjects, many of which related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict."

In addition, on or around July 30, 2022, he also searched for the terms "Ruby Ridge", "Las Vegas shooting", "Mandalay Bay shooting", "Buffalo tops shooting", and "Uvalde" which are all (related to) mass shootings in the United States, which Teixeira had an unhealthy interest in.

While it's definitely useful to have these audit results for a criminal investigation, there's apparently still no insider threat detection system that is capable of near-real-time anomaly detection. The NSA, DISA and large defense contractors were already working on that over a decade ago, but this turned out to be rather difficult.

The DIA seems to be lagging behind even more, as only by the end of 2021, the agency came up with plans to modernize the JWICS network with for example Comply-to-Connect access control and behavioral-based vulnerability detection.
On May 19, 2023, a federal magistrate judge ruled that Jack Teixeira has to remain in prison pending his trial because he poses a continuing threat to national security and public safety.

Links and Sources

- Court Listener: United States v. Jack Douglas Teixeira
- The Washington Post: Amid leak of U.S. secrets, Pentagon hunts how documents left air base (May 20, 2023)
- Emptywheel: Jack Teixeira’s Polish (or Croatian) Missile (May 18, 2023)
- Christian Science Monitor: Jack Teixeira, Edward Snowden, and plugging intelligence leaks (May 17, 2023)
- The Washington Post: Leak suspect shared classified secrets with foreigners, prosecutors say (May 17, 2023)
- The New York Times: Airman in Leaks Case Worked on a Global Network Essential to Drone Missions (April 30, 2023)
- US Air Force Unit History: 102 Intelligence Wing (Jan. 19, 2022)
- AutoNorms: Shortening the Kill Chain with Artificial Intelligence (Nov. 28, 2021)

April 21, 2023

Everything you want to know about the Pentagon/Discord Leak

(Updated: May 22, 2023)

Two weeks ago, a few highly classified military maps from Pentagon appeared on social media. As more and more of such documents surfaced, this became the most significant leak since the exposure of NSA and CIA hacking tools in 2016 & 2017.

Because the content of the leaked documents has already been extensively discussed by the press, I will summarize the events, take a close look at the form of the documents and assess how the leaker might have been able to access them.

The leak    The leaker    The documents    The access

Updates:   #1   #2   #3   #4

The leak     Discord - 4chan - Telegram

The Pentagon or Discord Leak came to light on Thursday, April 6, when The New York Times reported on Top Secret US defense documents that had been shared on Russian Telegram channels.

How this leak developed becomes clear from research by Aric Toler from Bellingcat and Shane Harris from The Washington Post, as well as from the affidavit which the FBI submitted to the district court of Massachusetts.

According to these sources, the leak started in October 2022, when someone who called himself OG (for Original Gangster) began posting classified information in a Discord server, which he eventually named "Thug Shaker Central" and was controlled by OG as the administrator.

This server had been created in 2020 by someone who called himself Vakhi, a now 17-year-old high school graduate, and consisted of some 20 to 30 gamers from various countries, including Russia and Ukraine. They had been locked in their houses during the Covid-19 pandemic and were "united by their mutual love of guns, military gear and God".

Initially, OG made transcriptions of classified documents he had brought home from his job on an unnamed military base. By sharing this information, OG apparently wanted to show off his insider knowledge and offer the other server members unique insights that could provide protection from the real-world troubles.

Similar to Snowden, OG ranted about "government overreach" and saw law enforcement and intelligence agencies as "a sinister force that sought suppress its citizens and keep them in the dark."

When transcribing classified documents by hand proved too tiresome and not very attractive for the server members, OG began posting photos of the original documents in January 2023. Eventually, he posted some 350 of such photos in his Discord server.

Then, from February 28 to at least March 2, a 17-year-old user called Lucca secretly posted 50 to 100 of the photos from Thug Shaker Central on another Discord server, which was affiliated with a British-Filipino YouTuber called wow_mao:

Screenshots of several photos posted in the wow_mao Discord server on March 1, 2023
(screenshots by - click to enlarge)

On March 4, 2023, ten photos from the wow_mao server appeared on yet another (and meanwhile deleted) Discord server called "Minecraft Earth Map", which was dedicated to the popular computer game Minecraft. A zip file of 32 photographs also included a photo of a handwritten piece of paper that appeared to be a character sheet for a roleplaying game (RPG), which seems unrelated to the leaked documents.

(Screenshot and pixelation by Bellingcat - click to enlarge)

On April 5, three of these photos were posted on the message board platform 4chan and five of them on a pro-Kremlin Telegram account called Donbass Devushka. One of the images, showing a March 1 Ukraine status update (marked "Pg 7"), had been altered to inflate the number of Ukrainian casualties and downplay those on the Russian side.

The Donbass Devushka account has some 65,000 followers and one of its administrators appeared to be former US Navy electronics technician Sarah Bils from Washington-state. She said that she later deleted the four photos, but they had already been picked up by other Russian Telegram channels and were eventually noticed on Twitter.

Meanwhile, OG had stopped sharing images in the Thug Shaker Central server in the middle of March. On April 6, shortly before the New York Times first reported on the leak, he learned that his photos had been spilled into other social media, which made him confused and distraught. He then shut down his Discord server and urged its members to delete any information that related to him.


On April 21, 2023, The New York Times reported that from February 25, 2022 (which is one day after Russia invaded Ukraine) to March 19, 2023, the leaker also posted classified information an another, easily accessible Discord server with some 600 members.

There he called himself "unknowing" and provided insights into the development of the war, mainly in the form of detailed written accounts, but he apparently also posted pictures of some documents, which have since been deleted.

On March 19, 2023, unknowing wrote: "I was very happy and willing and enthusiastic to have covered this event for the past year and share with all of you something that not many people get to see", but: "I've decided to stop with the updates."

Motives and damage

Looking back at the leaks of the past 10 years, we see quite some variation in motives: while Edward Snowden assumed he would provide proof of mass surveillance (2013), Daniel Hale leaked the Drone Papers to inform the public (2015), Harold Martin was simply hoarding everthing he could get (2016), Nghia Pho wanted to improve his programming skills (2016), Reality Winner also wanted to inform the public about Russian election interference (2017), Joshua Schulte leaked the Vault7 files because he was angry at the CIA (2017), but Jack Teixeira wanted to impress his online chat group (2023).

However, as emptywheel explains in an extensive blog post, the motive of the leaker is something different than what's actually inside the leaked files and what subsequently happens with them: "many [contemporary leakers] don't have expertise on the specific files they're leaking".

This is demonstrated in a piece by PwnAllTheThings, who analyses the damage done by the military intelligence about Ukraine ("acute damage potential, but very short-lived"), the political analysis using non-fragile sources ("embarrassing, but quickly forgotten"), and the foreign intelligence from highly sensitive sources ("fragile and opaque longer-term damage").

The leaker     Jack Teixeira

Based upon a very close examination of items that could be seen in the background of the leaked photograhps, "OG" was identified as the 21-year old airman Jack D. Teixeira. On Thursday, April 13, he was arrested by the FBI at the home of his mother in North Dighton, Massachusetts, and accused of "alleged unauthorized removal, retention and transmission of classified national defense information."

Teixeira grew up in the suburbs of Providence, Rhode Island, and attended Dighton-Rehoboth High School in Massachusetts where he graduated in 2020. He appeared to be a loner and according to several of his former high school classmates, he had a fascination with the military, guns and war.

Op September 26, 2019, Teixeira had joined the Massachusetts Air National Guard, and after finishing technical training, he entered active duty at the 102nd Intelligence Wing on October 1, 2021. This unit is located at Otis Air National Guard Base on the southern portion of the Joint Base Cape Cod (JBCC).

The entrance to Joint Base Cape Cod in Pocasset, Massachusetts
(photo: CJ Gunther/EPA - click to enlarge)

In his first job, that of a Cyber Transport Systems Journeyman, Teixeira was responsible for keeping the communications networks secure and operational, including installing, maintaining and repairing hardware and cables. Since May 2022, his job title was Cyber Defense Operations Journeyman. This is remarkably similar to Edward Snowden, who started as a systems administrator and then became a cyber defense analyst.

Since he entered active duty in 2021, Teixeira held a Top Secret clearance with access to Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI), which usually includes signals intelligence (SI) and information collected by satellites and airborne surveillance platforms (TK). For which information he had the necessary need-to-know depended on the specific duties of his job.

Location of Joint Base Cape Cod and Teixeira's hometown
(graphic: The Washington Post - click to enlarge)

The 102nd Intelligence Wing

The 102nd Intelligence Wing consists of over 20 squadrons and groups. The 102nd Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance Group (ISRG), for example, performs near-real-time exploitation and analysis of video feeds from the U-2 spy plane, as well as from the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drones, which are put together so it can be used by military commanders.

Other units are involved in cyber missions, like the 267th Intelligence Squadron (IS), which conducts "signals intelligence exploitation in the cyber domain for 25th Air Force and US Cyber Command", providing "finished Cyber ISR products, and direct support for consumers across multiple agencies."

Besides supporting combat operations overseas, the 102nd Intelligence Wing also provides defense support to civilian authorities during national and regional emergencies, as is shown in this video from 2017:

102nd Intelligence Wing Airmen provide disaster relief
in response to Hurricane Harvey in August 2017
(click the image to start the video)

Meanwhile, the US Air Force has ordered the 102nd Intelligence Wing to halt its intelligence mission as the service's inspector general investigates the leak. Its duties have been temporarily reassigned to other Air Force units.


On April 26, 2023 the US Air Force said that the commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing temporarily suspended his subordinate commander of the 102nd Intelligence Support Squadron and the detachment commander overseeing administrative support.

> See also: New details about the Pentagon Leak

The documents     intelligence briefings

Reportedly, Jack Teixeira posted some 350 photos in the Thug Shaker Central Discord server, but it should be noted that each photo only shows a single page, so the actual number of complete documents is much lower.

The maps and charts seem to come in sets of up to 8 pages and an unpublished intelligence summary also consists of 8 pages. This means the number of documents may be somewhere around 60.

Various media outlets have gained access to around 100 photos, likely those that were shared to the wow_mao Discord server. Just over 50 of them have been shared more widely and were also available on some websites. On April 16, Newsweek published 20 of these photos with comments by William Arkin.

Most widely available are eight out of the ten photos that made their way to the Minecraft Discord server and from there to 4chan and Telegram. They are shown down below (click the image to enlarge):

Russia/Ukraine | Status of the Conflict as of 1 Mar (Pg 7)
March 1, 2023

IVO = In the Vicinity Of      ICOD = Intelligence Cut-Off Date
PCN = Product Control Number      UAF = Ukraine Armed Forces

Assessed Operations in Kharkiv (Pg 8)
March 1, 2023

Bakhmut Axis (Pg 10)
March 1, 2023

Donetsk Axis (Pg 11)
Date unknown

Ukraine | Freeze Favorable To Vehicle Maneuver (~16 Inches) Projections (Pg 13)
February 28, 2023

Russia/Ukraine Joint Staff J3/4/5 Daily Update (D+370) (Pg 17)
March 1, 2023

AOR = Area of Responsibility      Pax = Persons
CAO = Current As Off      SIGACT = Significant Activity
CCIR = Commander’s Critical Information Requirement
SOF = Special Operations Forces

US. Allied & Partner UAF Combat Power Build (Pg 24)
February 28, 2023

CAO = Current As Off      BDE = Brigade

BDA From Recent Strike? Damage GBU BBCARD (Pg 37)
February 15, 2023

BDA = Battle Damage Assessment      OSINT = Open Source Intelligence
BBCARD = ?      RFI = Request For Information
GBU = Guided Bomb Unit      SAG-U = Security Assistance Group - Ukraine

The following video provides a detailed explanation of four of the leaked documents:

Addtional page numbers

Among the set of 50+ photos are more of these military maps and a close look reveals that in the lower right corner of most of them there's an additional page number that was printed over the original text. The highest page number is 59, which indicates that maybe even more of these maps and charts (with dates from February 27 to March 2) had apparently been part of one package:

It seems that all the documents with an additional number are about the war in Ukraine, so they were probably put together to provide a comprehensive overview of the current situation ("to inform senior military and civilian government officials during briefings at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia" as the affidavit says?)

The classification markings

More eye-catching than the additional page numbers are the classification markings. Especially the map in the first photo (marked "Pg 7") has one of the longest classification lines seen so far:

Classification line of the document marked "Pg 07" (colors enhanced)

These official classification lines consist of different types of markings, separated by a double slash. The meaning of the various parts is as follows:

- TOP SECRET (release would cause exceptionally grave damage to national security)

- HCS-P = HCS Product (intelligence reports based on human sources)
- SI-G = Special Intelligence GAMMA (sensitive communication intercepts)
- TK = TALENT-KEYHOLE (intelligence from satellite collection)

- FGI = Foreign Government Information (classified info from foreign partners)

- RSEN = Risk Sensitive
- ORCON = Originator Controlled
- NOFORN = No Foreign Nationals
- FISA = Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act

The markings HCS-P, SI-G, TK and FGI show that this document contains information from all the main intelligence sources: human intelligence (HUMINT, marked HCS-P), signals intelligence (SIGINT, marked SI-G), imagery intelligence (IMINT, marked TK) and intelligence provided by foreign partners (marked FGI). The result is a so-called "all-source intelligence product".

In this case, this product was created by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which is responsible for fusing intelligence from multiple sources for military purposes, just like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) creates all-source intelligence reports for the president and senior civilian policymakers.

The last part of the classification line consists of the dissemination markings:

- Risk Sensitive, which is used by the National Geospatial intelligence Agency (NGA) to "protect especially sensitive (satellite) imaging capabilities and exploitation techniques".

- Originator Controlled, which means the originator of the information controls to whom it is released. It allows originators to maintain knowledge, supervision, and control of the distribution of the information beyond its original dissemination.

- No Foreign Nationals, which means the information may not be disclosed or released to foreign nationals, foreign governments, or international organizations without permission by the originator of the information.

- Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which is the law that allows the collection of foreign intelligence at facilities inside the United States (i.e. PRISM and Upstream collection). Information from this source may not be used in criminal investigations without approval by the attorney general.

A similar, but much less visible classification line (without the FISA-marking) is found on some other maps:

Classification line of the document marked "Pg 08" (colors enhanced)

Intelligence briefings

For most of the maps and charts it's not clear what their exact origin is, but a photo published by Newsweek shows a document with the header of the Daily Intelligence Update for the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

This briefing is dated February 28, 2023 and was prepared by the Directorate for Intelligence (J2) of the Joint Staff, which is managed by the DIA:

Title of the Daily Intelligence Update from February 28, 2023 (colors enhanced)

Besides the military maps and charts, the set of 50+ photos also contains text documents. These appear to be daily intelligence briefings which consist of one-paragraph summaries of particular events from all over the world. Four different briefings can be distinguished:

- CIA Operations Center Intelligence Update (March 2, 2023; 2 pages)

- Signals Intelligence briefing (March 1 or 2, 2023; 8 pages)

- Multiple source intelligence briefing (probably March 1, 2023; 2 pages)

- Multiple source intelligence briefing (March 2, 2023; 5 pages)

Covering events from all over the world and based upon all available sources of intelligence, these briefings are clearly intended for high-level military commanders and civilian policymakers, although they are likely also distributed among watch centers like the NSA's National Security Operations Center (NSOC).

The briefing that only contains signals intelligence appears almost identical to the NSA's Global SIGINT Highlights. Parts of the Global SIGINT Highlights from 2004 to 2012 were published in 2015 by Wikileaks, which had obtained them from a still unknown source. They were considered more embarrasing for the US than most of the Snowden documents.

NSA report about an intercepted conversation of French president Hollande.
From the Global SIGINT Highlights, published by Wikileaks in 2015
(click to enlarge)

The Global SIGINT Highlights succeeded the SIGINT Digest, which also included maps, graphics and images. By the end of 1994, the NSA started to share content of the SIGINT Digest on the JWICS version of Intelink, in order to make its intelligence products available for other agencies. However, Intelink may include information from the SCI compartments SI and TK, but not from HCS and GAMMA.

Serial numbers

In the unpublished intelligence briefings, each paragraph has one or more serial numbers which refer to the source of the information, usually an intelligence report by one of the US intelligence agencies. Here's a selection of the serial numbers from these briefings (with classification level and topic):

NSA serialized reports:
3/55/120969-23 (TS/SI, about Jordan)
Z-G/OO/121581-23 (TS/SI-G, about Israel)
3/O5/121275-23 (TS/SI, about Colombia)
3/OO/122012-23 (TS/SI, about North-Korea)
Y-G/OO/122008-23 (TS/SI-G, about Brazil/Russia)
G/RG/122297-23 (TS/SI-G, about Russia)
3/OO/122310-23 (TS/SI, about the IAEA)
Z-G/OO/122198-23 (TS/SI-G, about South-Korea)
3/IR/122434-23 (TS/SI, about Central African Republic)
G/RA/122097-23 (TS/SI-G, about Russia in Africa)
3/RT/122431-23 (TS/SI, about Nigeria)

(The format of these SIGINT serial numbers is explained here)

Australia's ASD serialized reports:
3/EE/718-23 (TS/SI, about China)

Canada's CSE serialized reports:
3/UU/442-23 (TS/SI, about Russia & Canada)

DIA reports:
DIA_F_24OUB_A (TS/SI-G, about Nicaragua)
DIA_F_24O3A_A (Secret, about war in Ukraine)
DIA_F_24OR2_A (Secret, about ISIS)
DIA_F_24ON5_A (Secret, about China)
DIA_F_24OLT_A (TS/SI, about Russia)

CIA reports:
WIRe2023-04119 (Secret/HCS-P, about Ethiopia)
WIRe2023-27480 (Secret, about satellite interference)
WIRe2023-04601 (TS/SI-G, about China)
WIRe2023-03684 (Secret, about North-Korea)

Other CIA reports:
CIA 50125415520 (Unclassified, about Israel)
CIA-DA-IA-2023-01909 (TS/SI, about nuclear security)
CIA Intel Update [date]

INR reports:
INR Night Owl Notes [date]

DEA reports:
DEA-NN-IIR-3998-23 (Secret, Haiti/Russia)

National Intelligence Council:
NIC-NICM-2023-04600 (Secret, about West/Central Africa)
NIC-NICM-2023-04261 (?, about Ukraine)

AFP202302281614370370 (Unclassified, about Israel)
EUW2023030116612750 (Unclassified, about Nigeria)
LIW2023022771195902 (Unclassified, about Israel)
EUW2023030167988335 (TS/SI, about Iran)
AFW2023030163657742 (Secret, Nigeria)

Compilation of NSA serial numbers found in the briefings (source)

Dates of the documents

If we look at the dates of the aforementioned documents, we see that all the text briefings are from March 1 and March 2, 2023. Some of the maps and charts have dates from the second half of February, but they seem to be part of the "Ukraine package", the latest date of which is March 1.

Some screenshots from the wow_mao Discord server show that the user called Lucca already posted the photos of these documents there on March 1 and March 2.

That means Teixeira took the printed briefings home at the end of the same day that they had been released, photographed tens of pages, posted them on his own Discord server, after which Lucca reposted them almost immediately, or ultimately the next day on the wow_mao server.

This was repeated on March 2, when Lucca reposted documents dated February 28 and March 1, mostly from the "Ukraine package". This shows how eager both Teixeira and Lucca were to share the Top Secret information.

The earliest date seen so far is January 13, 2023, which is found on a chart that was published by The Washington Post on April 18:

Leaked document that "highlights capabilities and notional flight paths
of China's supersonic reconnaissance drone, along with satellite images
of its home base at Liuan Airfield", January 13, 2023.

The access     JWICS

A frequently asked question is whether a low-level airman like Jack Teixeira had legitimate access to the documents he leaked. Given his Top Secret/SCI clearance he was allowed to work with intelligence information, but even if his unit was involved in (cyber) operations in Ukraine, it's unlikely that he had the need-to-know for high-level briefings covering events from all over the world.

But where did he get them from? The easiest way would have been that a senior commander at Otis Air Base asked Teixeira to print out his daily briefings, and that Teixeira was able to grab those papers afterwards and took them home, instead of throwing them into the burn bag to be safely destructed.

Already during the Snowden-leaks it became clear the NSA and other agencies don't impose universal checks of personnel and their belongings as they enter and leave secure facilities. Security guards only conduct random checks and use their discretion in order to keep and build the trust of the employees: "Anything that could fit in a pocket could go out undetected".

In this case, however, the number of pages Teixeira took home around March 1, 2023 was so high (which is also indicated by the unsharp folds), that they wouldn't have easily fit in a pocket, but he could have put them under his clothes.

Unauthorized access?

In the US, intelligence is disseminated through the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communications System (better known as JWICS), which is a highly secure communications network for information up to the level of Top Secret/SCI. It has "only" around 200,000 users, so it's not like all 1.25 million people who hold a Top Secret clearance had access to the leaked files, like various press reports suggested.

On the JWICS network, access is further restricted through additional login requirements for the various tools, programs and user groups (Communities of Interest), depending on someone's need-to-know. For example, for sharing intelligence, including from the GAMMA and HCS compartments, there's a collaborative workspace called i-Space (formerly A-Space), but users have to be individually authorized to see data about a particular topic or country.

Security measures

When A-Space was launched (for 10.000 users) in 2007, an intelligence official admitted that "This is a counter-intelligence nightmare. You've got to ask yourself, if there's one bad apple here, how much can that bad apple learn?" To mitigate that risk, A-Space would be additionally secured by looking out for suspiciously anomalous searches.

Given the fact that the leaked intelligence briefings contain information from the GAMMA and HCS compartments, we have to assume that there are similar security measures in place as those for i-Space and that it's not possible to access such documents without a proper individual authorization based upon someone's clearance and need-to-know.

While the US intelligence community is improving intelligence-sharing (not only since the attacks of 9/11, but already since the first Gulf War from 1990-1991), that doesn't mean that security is ignored. How Teixeira was nevertheless able to get hold of the highly classified documents he shared on Discord is something that still has to be clarified.


In the larger Discord server, where Teixeira called himself "unknowing", he explained his knowledge by saying: "I have a little more than open source info. Perks of being in a USAF intel unit".
He also wrote that he was able to access a site run by the NSA and that "I usually work with GCHQ people when I’m looking at foreign countries". On February 28, 2022 he said that "the job i have lets me get privilege's above most intel guys":

Discord post by Teixeira under the nickname unknowing (source)

This sounds very similar to Edward Snowden again, who once said: "What was special about me was I had a special clearance called PRIVAC, which meant I could see across silos. I saw the big picture."
PRIVAC stands for Privileged Access and is described as "a higher level of access than the level of access needed to perform normal processes and system operations", which means these people have the capability to change network addresses, copy data, and install apps without raising red flags.
After Snowden, the NSA intended to reduce the number of PRIVAC users, but in 2016, the DoD Inspector General found that the agency had failed to do so.


From the government's motion for pretrial detention of Jack Teixeira, which was released on April 27, 2023, it became clear that he had a "troubling history of making racist and violent remarks". Teixeira had been suspended from high school in 2018 for alarming comments about the use of Molotov cocktails and other weapons. This behavior was so disturbing that it was flagged by local police when Teixeira applied for a firearms identification card.

Prosecutors also made public a series of social media posts from 2022 and 2023 in which Teixeira expressed his desire to kill a "ton of people" and cull the "weak minded," and described what he called an "assassination van" to kill people in a "crowded urban or suburban environment." In his bedroom, investigators found a small arsenal, including handguns, bolt-action rifles, shotguns, an AK-style high-capacity weapon:

FBI photo of the firearms found in one of Teixeira's bedrooms

This raises serious questions about how it was possible that Teixeira was granted a Top Secret/SCI clearance. Some suggested that his behaviour might not have been very different from what is common among young airman - the investigation of the January 6 attack on the Capitol found that the military services included too many neo-Nazi and white supremacy extremists, including in their intelligence ranks.

Former NSA general counsel Glenn Gerstell said that "repugnant views and having lots of guns in your bedroom are not automatically going to disqualify you for a security clearance", especially because the US government has for decades struggled to attract sufficient IT and cybersecurity talent.

The Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA) confirmed that its background investigations do "not include automated checks of social media or chat rooms." A review of a serving individual's social media is only likely if their superiors have a reason to be alarmed, which is not only due to a lack of manpower, but also because it's difficult to attribute anonymous profiles.

Links and Sources

- Court Listener: United States v. Jack Douglas Teixeira

- The New York Times: The Next Intelligence Leak Could Be Prevented (April 24, 2023)
- The New York Times: Airman Shared Sensitive Intelligence More Widely and for Longer Than Previously Known (April 21, 2023)
- Financial Times: The Pentagon leak: how a low-ranked 21-year-old accessed top US secrets (April 19, 2023)
- Newsweek: Read the Leaked Secret Intelligence Documents on Ukraine and Vladimir Putin (April 16, 2023)
- PwnAllTheThings: Pentagon Leaks: What's the Damage? (April 15, 2023)
- Emptywheel: Jack Teixeira: Leak Dumps Don’t Care about (the Story You Tell about) Motive (April 15, 2023)
- The New York Times: The Airman Who Gave Gamers a Real Taste of War (April 13, 2023)
- The Cipher Brief: Leak Questions Begin To Center Around A Cell Phone (April 12, 2023)
- The Washington Post: Discord member details how documents leaked from closed chat group (April 12, 2023)
- Verschlusssache: Was steht in den Geheimpapieren? (April 11, 2023)
- Emptywheel: The Thug Shaker Leaks (April 9, 2023)
- Bellingcat: From Discord to 4chan: The Improbable Journey of a US Intelligence Leak (April 9, 2023)
- Motherboard: Pentagon’s Ukraine War Plans Leaked on Minecraft Discord Before Telegram and Twitter (April 7, 2023)
- The New York Times: Leaked documents expose US-NATO Ukraine war plans (April 7, 2023)
- Politico: Leaked military documents on Ukraine battlefield operations circulated as early as March (April 7, 2023)
- The Gray Zone: Leaked documents expose US-NATO Ukraine war plans (April 7, 2023)
- The New York Times: Ukraine War Plans Leak Prompts Pentagon Investigation (April 6, 2023)

March 2, 2023

The National Security Operations Center (NSOC): 50 years in photos

(Updated: March 9, 2023)

On February 21, the NSA's National Security Operations Center (NSOC) celebrated its 50-year anniversary. For this occasion, I will take a close look at a range of unique historic photos from inside this "Nerve Center of NSA".

NSA watch centers

At the US National Security Agency (NSA) there are two major watch centers operating on a 24 hours a day, 7 days a week basis:

- The National Security Operations Center (NSOC), established in 1973 for monitoring unfolding events and crises around the world, coordinating time-sensitive actions and providing actionable intelligence to military and civilian decision-makers.

- The NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), established in 2004 for real-time situational awareness of cyber threats against US computer systems and coordinating both defensive and offensive Computer Network Operations (CNO).

The history of NSOC

The various international crises in the 1960s, like the tensions in the Middle East, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and the capture of the USS Pueblo, prompted NSA leadership to create separate offices for these geographic regions. The same events, however, demonstrated the need for immediate input from multiple offices to get a full understanding of what was happening around the globe.

Therefore, the National Sigint Watch Center (NSWC) was created in December 1968. But already during its set-up a major crisis evolved, when in April 1969 North Korea shot down a US Navy EC-121 SIGINT reconnaissance aircraft. Assistant Director for Production (ADP) John E. Morrison, Jr. was frustrated when he had to speed between various watch centers attempting to piece together a complete picture for military and policy leaders.

Major General John E. Morrison, Jr.
(photo via NCM)

The creation of NSOC

After the EC-121 incident Morrison proposed, and eventually established, a single dedicated watch center to coordinate a rapid response of the NSA to incidents and crises. The new center began limited operations in December 1972 and was formally inaugurated on February 21, 1973, as the National Sigint Operations Center (NSOC).

NSOC (pronounced as "N-sock") was housed at the third floor of the east corridor in the OPS-1 building at the NSA's headquarters compound. OPS-1 is the large flat, three-story building which was built in 1957 as the NSA's very first building at Fort Meade, Maryland:

NSOC in the 1970s

How the National Sigint Operations Center initially looked can be seen in some great photos from the archive of the NSA's National Cryptologic Museum (NCM), which provide a unique look behind once tightly closed doors:

Entrance to the National Sigint Operations Center (NSOC), 1970s
(photo: National Cryptologic Museum)

Behind this door were the NSOC rooms, including its main watch floor, which consisted of a large open space with numerous desks. Despite the fact that almost all desks have a computer terminal, there is still a lot of paper present:

A view of the NSOC watch floor from its early days in the 1970s
(photo: NSA - click to enlarge)

It's not yet clear what kind of computer terminals we see on the desks, but one suggestion is that they might have been from Wang Laboratories. Terminals like these allowed NSOC officers access to (informal) teletype links with listening posts, query, update and maintain various databases and review time-sensitive reports. There was also a computer system called SOLIS (Sigint On-Line Information System) for rapid retrieval of SIGINT reports and requirements from the last 14 months.

The telephones right next to the computer terminal are Call Directors: the upper one in black with a keypad and 6 push buttons, the lower one is an older version in white with a rotary dial and 18 push buttons. The Call Director was manufactured by Western Electric from 1958 to the early 1980s and was the most advanced phone from its (largely electromechanical) 1A2 Key Telephone System. Here, one may have been used for secure and another one for non-secure calls.

The desk in the front of the photo even has a third telephone set of the common type from those days but without a rotary dial. Such a phone was usually used for a hotline or a dedicated alerting network, like the secure National Operational Intelligence Watch Officer's Network (NOIWON), which connects NSOC with other military and intelligence watch centers.

Adjacent to the large NSOC watch floor were separate rooms and spaces for specific purposes, like a conference room, a teletype printer room, some kind of map room, a control room and an office for the Senior Operations Officer:

The teletype printer room of NSOC in the 1970s
(photo: NCM - click to enlarge)

Some kind of map room of NSOC in the 1970s
(photo: NCM - click to enlarge)

More photos of NSOC can be found in the photo database of the NCM.

The organization of NSOC

The internal organization and the atmosphere of NSOC are described in a 2003 internal newsletter which was published as part of the Snowden revelations. At that time, NSOC consisted of 36 desks, with desk officers representing particular elements of the NSA, like collection and analysis units, field sites and Second Party partners. These officers, both military and civilian, work in eight-hour shifts in five rotating teams.

The most important position is the Senior Operations Officer (SOO) who acts as the NSA Director after-hours. To stay abreast of recent reporting and dissemination issues, the SOO relies on the Reporting Cell, which consists of the Reporting Officer (RO) and the Senior Reporting Officer (SRO), who "work intimately with other desks to ensure that authorized customers receive needed intelligence legally, securely, reliably, accountably, and on time."

The Surveillance and Collection Officer (SCO) focuses primarily on operational and technical matters related to the over-all SIGINT system. Other positions are or were the Operations Support Officer (OSO), the Systems Officer (SYO), the Communications Watch Officer (CWO) and the Information Service Officers (ISO).

SRO desk sign on the ceiling of the NSOC watch floor

NSOC in the 1980s

In January 1981, NSOC played a critical role during the Iran hostage crisis when president Jimmy Carter spoke directly with the SOO asking questions about NSA's collection capabilities and Iranian air traffic control tower procedures. Carter insisted that the line with NSOC be kept open so he could follow the progress of events in real time. Even as he was riding to the Capitol, the link with NSOC was reestablished in his car and an aide maintained contact at the Capitol throughout Carter's inauguration ceremony.

In the late 1980s the NSOC watch floor looked much more orderly, with the large watch floor being divided into the ubiquitous office cubicles, each with a MINX workstation with a handset attached to it as this system allowed video calls already (see below):

The NSOC watch floor, August 1988
(photo: NSA - click to enlarge)

Besides the large watch floor, there appears to be a watch floor in a narrower sense as well, as can be seen in the following photo which was on display in the National Cryptologic Museum and is available at Wikimedia Commons:

The small NSOC watch floor in the early 1980s
(photo: National Cryptologic Museum - click to enlarge)

According to the description provided by the National Cryptologic Museum, this photo shows the "NSOC watch floor circa 1975". The computer, however, can be identified as an IBM 5150, which was launched in 1981. This means the photo cannot be from the 1970s, but must have been taken in the early 1980s. Still from the 1970s, however, are the two Call Director telephone sets on the left side of the desk.

Wikimedia Commons has another photo of the small NSOC watch floor, which the National Cryptologic Museum said is from around 1985, but is actually from the late 1980s:

The small NSOC watch floor in the late 1980s
(photo: National Cryptologic Museum - click to enlarge)

Here we see a wall covered with large and small monitors and computer screens for various kinds of (real-time) information systems, which are marked on the photo that was on display in the NCM.

Compared to the previous picture of the small watch floor, we see that the old Call Directors had been replaced by black and white multiline office phones from ITT which still worked via the 1A2 Key Telephone sytem.

Job openings indicate that COASTLINE is some kind of messaging system, while MINX stands for Multimedia Information Network Exchange, which was the first workstation that combined a camera and speakerphone with a high-resolution-color video graphics display screen. This system had been introduced in 1985 by Datapoint Corporation with a pricetag of almost 9.000 US Dollar for a single workstation.

Close-up of a MINX video terminal from another photo
(photo: National Cryptologic Museum - click to enlarge)

NSOC in the 1990s

Over the years, NSOC was able to assume a wide range of functions in NSA's daily operations and had become the focal point for crisis response at the agency. However, since operation Desert Shield in the early 1990s, the practice of convening special cells tailored to particular crises became standard.

The National Sigint Operations Center was renamed into National Security Operations Center (NSOC as well) in 1996, when it became responsible for the information security side of the NSA as well. Since then, NSOC included specialists who monitored critical networks for indications of hostile threats and intrusions, a function that was taken over by the newly created NTOC in 2004.

From 1997 we have the first video footage of the NSOC watch floor, when it was filmed for the Discovery Channel documentary "Inside the NSA":

A still from this documentary allows a closer look at the telephone and computer equipment used at that time:

On the right we see a SPARCstation, a very popular type of desktop computer that was introducted by Sun Microsystems in 1989.

The telephone set on the left is a beige office phone manufactured by Comdial as part of its ExecuTech electronic key telephone system. The NSA uses these devices on the National Secure Telephone System (NSTS), which is a stand-alone network for secure calls up to the level Top Secret/SCI. NSTS phones are also known as "gray phones" despite the fact that the actual instruments have a different color (non-secure phones are called "black")

Next to the Comdial phone sits a white AT&T 1100 secure telephone from the STU-III family, which can be used for encrypted phone calls to anyone who is not connected to the NSTS, but also for regular unclassified conversations over the public switched telephone network (PSTN).

Close-up of a Comdial ExecuTech phone elsewhere at NSA
(click to enlarge)

After NSA Director Michael Hayden had seen the 1998 Hollywood movie Enemy of the State, in which the NSA was depicted as a rogue agency trying to kill people, he launched a PR-campaign which resulted in the History Channel documentary "America's Most Secret Agency" which was aired in the year 2000 and for which filmmakers had once again been allowed access to the NSOC watch floor:

The alerting function of NSOC was described by James Bamford in his bestseller book Body of Secrets from 2002:
"Of special significance is the capability to instantly display CRITIC messages on screen. Critical Intelligence reports are of the highest importance, and the CRITIC system is designed to get them to the president in ten minutes or less from the time of an event. When Saddam Hussein pushed into Kuwait in 1990, for example, the first alert came in the form of a CRITIC. The issuance of a CRITIC is instantly noted in the National SIGINT File by a flashing message in the top left corner of the screen." (p. 516)

"If a listening post suddenly picks up an indication of a far-off assassination, or a sudden attack by Russia on a neighboring republic, a CRITIC message containing that information will be flashed immediately to the NSOC. Shortly after the USS Cole was attacked by terrorists in the port of Aden in October 2000, a CRITIC was zapped to the NSOC. Within minutes of the early morning message, a call was placed to the director, Michael Hayden." (p. 501)

This CRITICOMM system had become operational in 1961 and consisted of a worldwide network of relay centers which automatically put through the messages to the NSA. Encryption was initially performed by KW-26 machines.

NSOC in the 21st century

The first photo from NSOC in the 21st century can be found on Wikimedia Commons again and shows a visit by NSA Director Hayden somewhere in 2001:

NSA director Michael Hayden visits NSOC, 2001
(photo: National Cryptologic Museum - click to enlarge)

With the many screens on the wall, the photo apparently shows the small watch floor with modernized equipment. A whole range of digital clocks show the time in the many regions of the world where the NSA was interested in: Bosnia, Iraq/Saudi Arabia, Mogadishu, Moscow, Afghanistan, Pakistan/India, Tajikistan/Kyrgyzstan, Jakarta and Seoul.

On the left we see a glimpse of two phones: the upper one being the Comdial ExecuTech for the NSTS network, the lower one appears to be a black Motorola Sectel 1500 which is also from the STU-III secure telephone family.

The 9/11 attacks

During the attacks of September 11, 2001, the NSA headquarters complex at Fort Meade was evacuated. All nonessential personnel was sent home immediately, while the remaining mission-essential personnel was moved out of the tall black-glass cubes of OPS-2A and OPS-2B into the less-vulnerable three-story OPS-1 building.

"At the direction of Richard Berardino, the chief of NSOC, his thirty analysts and reporting officers began rapidly compiling whatever information they could brief Hayden and the agency's senior officials about what had just transpired. Other NSOC staffers began systematically going back over the past several days' worth of SIGINT reporting to see if anything had been missed that might have given any warning of the terrorist attacks. They found nothing." *

After the NSA was fully up and running again, NSOC "was converted into a war room. Superfast CRITIC messages began going out to field stations around the world every time a new piece of the puzzle was discovered, such as the names of the hijackers obtained from the passenger manifest lists." *

An alternate NSOC in Georgia

In July 2006, high temperatures and problems with Baltimore Gas and Electric power generation caused server and communications failures around the NSA's headquarters complex. This resulted in a critical limitation in NSOC's ability to dispatch CRITIC messages to the US Intelligence Community.

This prompted the first ever activation of the alternate NSOC (codenamed DECKPIN) at the NSA's regional cryptologic center in Georgia, which had been created to take over critical NSOC functions, should the Fort Meade facility lose its ability to operate. After two days, NSOC at NSA headquarters was able to resume its activities again.

A modernized watch floor

Somewhere before 2012, the large NSOC watch floor in the old OPS-1 building was modernized and give a more futuristic look with a long wall filled with video screens and some spaceship-like elements, as can be seen in a photo that was released on the occasion of the NSA's 60th anniversary:

The NSOC watch floor in 2012
(photo: NSA - click to enlarge)

Another angle of this new watch floor was shown in the CBS 60 Minutes report "Inside the NSA" from 2014:

The NSOC watch floor in 2014
(still from CBS 60 Minutes - click to enlarge)

A close look shows that the beige Comdial ExecuTech phones for the secure NSTS network had been replaced by white Nortel M3904 executive office phones:

A Nortel M3904 phone from the NSTS network

Moving to the Morrison Center

By the end of last year and after almost 50 years, NSOC left its rooms in the old OPS-1 building and moved to a brand new office building on the NSA's East Campus. This new building is called the Morrison Center, named in honor of John E. Morrison, Jr., who proposed and established NSOC back in 1973.

Besides NSOC, the seven-story Morrison Center includes a multipurpose conference center, a modern fitness center, a 24/7 open-concept cafeteria, gender-neutral single-user restrooms, modernized sit/stand desks, and larger windows. The building was designed with a strong emphasis on accessibility, so it's the first NSA facility with touchless door activators.

The new Morrison Center at the NSA's East Campus
(photo: NSA.gov - click to enlarge)

In the Morrison Center, NSOC now has a very spacious watch floor that looks even more futuristic than the previous one in the OPS-1 building, as we can see in two photos which the NSA released in October last year:

The current NSOC watch floor in the new Morrison Center
(photo: NSA - click to enlarge)

The SOO-pit at the NSOC watch floor in the Morrison Center
(photo: NSA - click to enlarge)

The new NSOC watch floor has huge video screens along the wall and each workstation is equipped with multiple computer screens and a KVM-switch to switch between physically separated computer networks at different classification levels.

Each workstation also has at least two Cisco IP phones from the current 8800 series, one for the secure NSTS network and another one for a (classified) telephone network depending on the desk officer's mission needs.

Links and Sources
- NSA.gov: NSA's National Security Operations Center celebrates 50 years of 24/7 operations in service to the Nation (Feb. 21, 2023)
- NSA.gov: NSA opens an innovative workplace for critical missions focused on the future (Nov. 17, 2022)
- WashingtonTimes.com: NSA’s new ‘nerve center’ ready to scan the world for threats to America (Oct. 25, 2022)
- NSA.gov: NSA 60th Anniversary Book (2012)
- James Bamford: Body of Secrets: Anatomy of the Ultra-Secret National Security Agency, Anchor, 2002, p. 501-502.
- Cryptologic Spectrum: The National SIGINT Operations Center, Summer 1979, Vol. 9, No. 3.