U.S. contractor charged with leaking top secret memo
- Author: Larry Hoffman Jun 06, 2017,
Jun 06, 2017, 21:11
Keen to crack down on a flood of leaks, nearly immediately after the report was published, the Trump administration announced the arrest of intelligence contractor Reality Leigh Winner, 25, on charges of violating the espionage act.
Two days later, and having rushed to Georgia for Winner's first court appearance on Monday for charges of leaking a classified document to reporters, her family remains confused.
The issue that Winner's arrest highlights is not her age, current and former intelligence officials say - it is what they perceive as a cultural shift that has led a small but growing subset of spy agency employees to break the ultimate organizational taboo, and share secrets with the public and the news media.
The documents shared by the Intercept show that Russian Federation not only perpetrated an attack on at least one supplier of U.S. voting software in the days before the election in November. He said Moscow categorically denies "the possibility" of the Russian government being behind it.
But the report expanded on United States allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a concerted effort, involving hacking and disinformation, to interfere with the election to help Trump.
"A further audit of the six individuals' desk computers revealed that victor had e-mail contact with the News Outlet", the agent wrote.
"She is still in federal custody and we have a detention hearing on Thursday to determine if she'll be released before trial", her attorney, Titus Thomas Nichols, told ABC News in a statement Monday night. She could now face 10 years in prison.
The Intercept said the NSA report had been submitted to it anonymously. Some went so far as to say the Intercept had "outed" her by posting copies of the document online.
On May 30, three weeks after victor allegedly printed the classified document, The Intercept contacted the us government, likely through the NSA, to discuss an upcoming story based on the intelligence document it had obtained. The Intercept, which published its story Monday, apparently provided authorities with a copy of a top-secret NSA document discussing details of alleged Russian interference in US elections. She worked with Pluribus International Corporation since February 13 and held a top state clearance.
Pluribus International's clients include the Defence Intelligence Agency, the US Army and US Central Command.
Reality Winner: The information leaking contractor sued.
The NSA report expanded on USA allegations that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a concerted effort, involving hacking and disinformation, to interfere with the 2016 election to help Trump.
The document obtained by The Intercept "appeared to be folded and/or creased", according to a Justice Department legal complaint filed Monday, suggesting the documents were printed out and mailed to the news outlet.
The Intercept says the NSA document details the Russian "spear-fishing" attack targeting local government employees with emails that appeared to be from e-voting vendors but were created to allow hackers to infect and gain control of computers.
"The emails contained Microsoft Word attachments purporting to be benign documentation for VR Systems' EViD voter database product line, but which were in reality maliciously embedded with automated software commands that are triggered instantly and invisibly when the user opens the document", The Intercept reported.
The case showed the department's willingness to crack down on leaks, as Mr. Trump has called for in complaining that they are undermining his administration.