Airman Accused of Sharing Classified Info With Boogaloo Buddies

Getty Images
Getty Images

A U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst advocated publicly for a second Civil War, running a high-profile anti-government Facebook group—and at one point shared classified information he “likely” got from the ultra-covert National Security Agency, according to investigators.

An FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force search warrant affidavit obtained by The Daily Beast reveals a 2022 probe into Airman Jason Travis Gray’s affiliation with the Boogaloo Bois, a loosely organized confederation of adherents seeking to incite a violent societal collapse.

Gray, 28, was assigned to the 301st Intelligence Squadron and detailed to an NSA facility at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson (JBER) in Anchorage, Alaska, the affidavit states. It says the classified information was viewed by more than a half-dozen unauthorized recipients, some of whom authorities have struggled to identify. Gray’s access to all Department of Defense and NSA materials was immediately cut off once the allegations surfaced, according to the affidavit, which was unsealed on Wednesday.

While looking into Gray’s suspected ties to the Boogaloos, investigators found more than 600 photos and videos on his phone and computer of children as young as 1-year-old being sexually abused, court records show. Gray later pleaded guilty to distribution of child pornography and is waiting to begin a five-year prison sentence. In exchange for his guilty plea, the government agreed not to charge Gray over the classified materials, according to filings in the case.

In an email on Wednesday, Gray’s attorney, Jane Imholte, declined to comment. Attempts to reach Gray on various phone numbers in his name were unsuccessful.

“Dozens of Americans have been arrested in the last few years trying to advance the Boogaloo ideology through violence,” Seamus Hughes, a senior researcher at the University of Nebraska’s National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology, and Education Center, told The Daily Beast. “Adherents long for a second civil war and to sow chaos in America. A military member should be nowhere near that ideology, let alone furthering it by running one of its social media accounts.”

A photo of the tail of a plane at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

Jason Travis Gray was assigned to the 301st Intelligence Squadron and detailed to an NSA facility at Joint Base Elmendorf–Richardson in Anchorage, Alaska.

U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Haley Stevens

The investigation into Gray began in the fall of 2022, according to the warrant affidavit. On Sept. 13, 2022, the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) contacted the FBI about an interview it had conducted with Gray, it says. Under questioning, Gray “disclosed he was the administrator for an anti-government, anti-authority social media page,” the affidavit continues.

Gray claimed to be “upset and disgruntled” about his transfer to JBER, complaining that the process was slow and inefficient, according to the affidavit. It says he arrived at the base on Feb. 1, 2021.

“During subsequent questioning by AFOSI, Gray admitted to creating a Facebook page for Boogaloo adherents titled ‘CNN Journalist Support Group,’” the affidavit goes on. “Gray created the group due in part to his dissatisfaction with the government.”

The affidavit for the first time unmasks Gray as the person behind the sarcastically named group, which was covered by the Associated Press in the aftermath of two fatal shootings in 2020 by right-winger Kyle Rittenhouse. Following a ban that June by Facebook of hundreds of Boogaloo-related pages and groups, many Boogs “relaunched pages under innocuous names,” the AP reported.

“A day before the Kenosha protest shooting, a post on a private Facebook group with more than 2,000 members called ‘CNN Journalist Support Group’ said ‘bois of the movement’ would be ‘making their presence felt’ in the city, wearing ‘regular clothes’ or combat apparel instead of ‘luau’ shirts,” the article said. “These are well known bois who no longer can post to social media due to the purge.”

In addition to the Facebook group, Gray also told investigators that he was active on Discord, a voice chat app originally built for gamers, using the moniker “LazyAirmen#7460,” the affidavit states.

He participated in several Discord channels “in support of the Boogaloo Movement,” according to the affidavit, which says the content focused largely on “dark humor, funny memes, and dissatisfaction with the United States Government.”

A picture of a Boogaloo Boi seen from behind, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a bulletproof vest.

The Boogaloo Bois wear Hawaiian shirts as a uniform of sorts, signifying the “Big Luau,” or a second Civil War.

Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Gray gave AFOSI agents permission to search his Discord account, where they spotted “an image sent in a private channel,” the affidavit states, adding, “Upon initial review[,] the image appeared to be classified and was likely obtained via Gray’s access to National Security Agency intelligence. The information was shared with seven other individuals, not all of whom have been fully identified… Based on Gray utilizing Discord to communicate with other Boogaloo members, there is potential the image was shared in furtherance of the Boogaloo ideology.”

It is unclear what Gray disseminated to the others, and how highly classified it was. The prosecutors assigned to the classified info case and the child pornography case did not respond to The Daily Beast’s request for comment.

In November 2022, FBI agents searched Gray’s gaming computer, according to a criminal complaint filed last year charging Gray with possession and distribution of child pornography. On it, they discovered a trove of child sex abuse materials, and a search of Gray’s Anchorage residence turned up one firearm, two threaded pistol barrels, handgun and rifle ammunition, and several magazines for both, the complaint states.

Gray was arrested on Jan. 10, 2023, and pleaded guilty a few months later to distribution of child pornography.

There is a well-known problem with far-right extremism among the ranks of the U.S. military, which the Biden administration tried to fix, subsequently abandoning the effort under pressure from Republicans. The Boogaloo Bois have been particularly problematic in the armed forces, according to reports. Earlier this month, a former U.S. Army officer was arrested and charged with sharing classified material on a dating site. Also in March, former Massachusetts Air National Guard member Jack Teixera pleaded guilty to leaking classified info on Discord.

Last month, U.S. District Judge Joshua Kindred sentenced Gray to 60 months imprisonment, 25 years supervised release, and $28,000 restitution. (Domestic terror charges are extremely difficult to stand up in court, according to Hughes, who said it is typical for prosecutors to bring non-terrorism charges, such as CSAM and firearms violations, against Boogaloo Boi defendants.)

Gray, who has no criminal history and denied being involved with the Boogaloo Bois, was diagnosed with PTSD after a deployment to Afghanistan, according to a sentencing memo filed by prosecutors. He was placed on leave following his arrest, then discharged, from the military, the memo states.

“Gray appears to appreciate the seriousness of and harm caused by his conduct,” it says. “Gray does not appear to have any substance abuse issues. The defendant graduated high school and has some college credit… A sentence of at [sic] 60 months of incarceration is necessary to stem the defendant’s conduct.”

As part of his sentence, Gray is set to forfeit a variety of electronics, including a white iPhone with a Kate Spade case, a Samsung tablet, and a Predator laptop. He will also be required to register as a sex offender upon his release.

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