Federal Contractor Accused Of Leaking Russian Hacking Data

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A government contractor who worked for 25 years for an American intelligence agency has been accused of sharing classified data on Russian hacking to an online news agency last month.

The Justice Department declared Monday that Reality Leigh Winner was arrested for “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet”. Winner worked in Georgia with Pluribus International Corporation.

The police arrested Winner right after The Intercept issued a purportedly May 5 intelligence report from the National Security Agency narrating two cyber-attacks executed by Russian government hackers. The cyber-attacks tried to penetrate U.S. voting systems one week before last year’s presidential election.

“There’s nothing in the NSA report indicating the actual voting machines or vote tabulations were compromised,” Sam Biddle of The Intercept tweeted.

Winner Confessed

According to the complaint, Winner confessed of printing the document while knowing that it was confidential and classified data. She also sent it to the news outlet via email.

“Winner further acknowledged that she was aware of the contents of the intelligence reporting and that she knew the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation,” the report said.

Anonymous Report

Vivian Siu, The Intercept’s director of communications, said the report was published anonymously.

“As we reported in the story, the NSA document was provided to us anonymously. The Intercept has no knowledge of the identity of the source,” Siu said.

Winner speaks Farsi and Pashtun. She spent six years serving in the military and worked at the U.S. government agency since Feb. 13. During that time, she was responsible of highly classified information and she had top-secret clearance. Her sentence may be up to 10 years in jail for leaking classified data.