NSA leak suspect victor remains in local custody in Georgia

Geneva Matthews
June 8, 2017

An aerial view of the National Security Agency headquarters in Ft.

Reality Winner was arrested on Saturday for sending a National Security Agency document regarding Russian election hacking to The Intercept, which reported the document, prior to news of her arrest. Six had access to the document, a detailed account of how the Russian military intelligence attacked a USA voting software company and spear-phished emails to more than 100 local election officials.

Federal agents who raided the Augusta home of the woman suspected of leaking a classified document to an online news media outfit took multiple electronic devices and Reality Leigh Winner's passport. The report the contractor allegedly leaked is dated May 5, the same date as the document The Intercept posted online. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from all matters related to the election after it emerged he met with the Russian ambassador to the USA on at least two occasions a year ago.

The NSA report also doesn't say whether the cyberattack had an overall impact on the 2016 presidential vote, which saw Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in several closely contested states.

The government claims that when victor "retained and transmitted classified national defense information", she could have compromised the security of the United States.

Monday afternoon, The Intercept published a story based on a confidential National Security Agency report about Russian attempts to interfere with US elections.

The Justice Department has declined to comment on the case beyond its filing.

It was all orchestrated by the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, the country's largest foreign intelligence agency, reporting directly to the minister of defense and the president.

Last week Russian President Vladimir Putin's denied that the Kremlin interfered. He said Russia categorically denies "the possibility" of the Russian government being behind it.

"Mainly she was concerned about her cat", Winner-Davis said. "Lastly, the actors send test emails to two non-existent accounts ostensibly associated with absentee balloting, presumably with the goal of creating those accounts to mimic legitimate services".

The affidavits also indicate that an unnamed reporter shared the images with another unnamed federal contractor in order to confirm the document's authenticity.

The Department of Justice says victor admitted to taking a "top secret" intelligence document, dated May 5, which details hacking by the Russian military intelligence.

"Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple USA state or local electoral boards", the assessment said.

USA officials still believe the vote total was not affected.

To be fair it wasn't that The Intercept had included the name of the leaker but rather that the documents it submitted for review contained secret watermarks that pointed to when the documents had been printed and the printer that was used.

"In particular, sources who want to make an anonymous disclosure of information should avoid making contact via government phones, email or computers", said POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian.

Victor then spoke with agents during the search and admitted to printing the information, taking it outside of her workplace "and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents".

"She said ... she was very scared, ' " her mother Biller Winner-Davis told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Tuesday.

Victor was arrested two days before the publication of The Intercept report, although the news outlet said it had contacted the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence before the story went out. He also declined to name the federal agency for which victor worked. She's not a violent person. "All this craziness has happened all of a sudden".

The news outlet provided the USA government agency with a copy of the document, according to the complaint.

Aussie political stirrer Julian Assange has been one of the first to take up arms for victor. "She always does what's right", said Billie Winner-Davis, Reality's mother.

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