Federal Investigation into Airman Uncovered Extremist Ties, Led to Child Pornography Charges

Government Hill Gate at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska
A McDonnell F-4C Phantom II static display is hoisted in front of the Government Hill Gate at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Feb 18, 2021. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Adriana Barrientos)

Editor's Note: This story has been updated with information from an Air Force statement provided to Military.com after publication regarding its investigation, as well as information regarding the airman's service record. 

An airman stationed with an intelligence unit in Alaska who was investigated by federal officials in 2022 was found to be involved with online extremist groups. The investigation ultimately led to his arrest on child pornography charges, according to federal documents made public this week.

Jason Gray, then a staff sergeant with the Air Force's 381st Intelligence Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska, used Discord -- a popular social media chat room -- under the username "LazyAirmen#7460." He often posted in Discord channels in support of the Boogaloo movement, an anti-government extremist ideology with followers who believe a second U.S. civil war is coming, as well as "dark humor, funny memes, and dissatisfaction with the United States Government," according to a search warrant affidavit.

The Alaska airman told Air Force special investigators in September 2022 that he was "the administrator for an anti-government, anti-authority social media page" and also "admitted to creating a Facebook page for Boogaloo adherents titled 'CNN journalist Support Group,'" a federal search warrant states.

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Gray was also initially believed to have potentially shared classified information on Discord, but he was eventually cleared.

Authorities said Gray made the Boogaloo Facebook page because he was dissatisfied with being stationed in Alaska.

"Gray was upset and disgruntled with his permanent change of station (PCS) to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER). Gray was upset due to the delays and efficiency of the process," the affidavit supporting a search warrant states.

Also during the course of the investigation, Air Force investigators said Gray consented to a search of his Discord, where "agents identified an image sent in a private channel" that "appeared to be classified and was likely obtained via Gray's access to National Security Agency (NSA) intelligence."

After discovering the potentially classified image, the Defense Department and NSA "immediately restricted Gray's access to all NSA material and classified documents," according to the document.

It's unclear what the image depicted and how widely it was circulated.

"Based on Gray utilizing Discord to communicate with other Boogaloo members, there is potential the image shared was in the furtherance of the Boogaloo ideology," the affidavit for a search warrant states.

An Air Force spokesperson told Military.com in a statement on Friday that, while the affidavit from November 2022 laid out what was believed to be on Gray's devices, the Air Force's investigation ultimately "concluded there was no unauthorized disclosure of classified information."

Air Force officials' initial suspicion over Gray's potential leak of classified information on Discord in 2022 came around the same time that Jack Teixeira, then a member of the Air Force National Guard, was also leaking classified information on Discord. Teixeira was arrested in 2023 and pleaded guilty to his crimes earlier this month. Teixeira faces no less than 11 months and up to 200 months, or more than 16 years, in prison -- which could mark one of the stiffest sentences imposed for similar crimes in recent history.

Notably, the airman stationed in Alaska was not charged with any crimes related to the disclosure of the classified information, but while searching his electronic devices as part of a military investigation, agents discovered child pornography, according to a sentencing document.

Gray was charged in January 2023 with distribution of child pornography and pleaded guilty to the crime later that year. He was separated from the service on Dec. 15, 2023.

The Air Force has been dealing with several cases of airmen and employees being careless with sensitive material online.

Earlier this month, the same day Teixeira pleaded guilty, it was announced that a civilian employee at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska was arrested and charged with providing classified information through an online dating app to someone claiming to be a woman in Ukraine, according to federal prosecutors.

David Franklin Slater, a 63-year-old Air Force employee and retired Army lieutenant colonel assigned to U.S. Strategic Command, was arrested and charged with one count of conspiring to transmit and two counts of transmitting classified information related to the national defense.

The information was shared "on a foreign online dating platform beginning in or around February 2022 until in or around April 2022," federal officials said in a press release, also the same year as the investigation into Gray's Discord use and Teixeira's disclosures.

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