Feds Arrest First Leaker Under Trump

Reality Leigh Winner accused of leaking info on Russia election hack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2017 5:04 AM CDT
Updated Jun 6, 2017 6:34 AM CDT
Feds: NSA Contractor Leaked Info on Russia Election Hack
Reality Winner.   (Facebook)

Her name is "Reality," but her story sounds more like something from a spy thriller: Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old intelligence contractor, was arrested Monday in the first criminal case of the Trump's administration's campaign against leaks, the New York Times reports. The arrest was announced just an hour after the publication of a bombshell National Security Agency report from May 5 detailing Russian hacking of a voting equipment vendor and attempts to hack 122 local election officials just days before the election. The latest:

  • The Intercept story based on the document allegedly supplied by Winner describes it as the "most detailed US government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light." It details how, contrary to Vladimir Putin's claim that Russia had never tried to interfere in the election, Russia's military intelligence agency hacked an American company and used information from that hack for a "spearphishing" campaign targeting local government officials.

  • Prosecutors say Winner printed the classified document earlier this month while working for defense contractor Pluribus International Corporation, the Guardian reports. Winner, who grew up in Texas and had a top-secret security clearance during the six years she served in the US Air Force, had been working for the company in Augusta, Ga., since February of this year.
  • Winner was a frequent critic of President Trump on Twitter, but her mother says she never talked about her job and the family is shocked by the arrest. "She's very passionate. Very passionate about her views and things like that, but she’s never to my knowledge been active in politics or any of that," the mother tells the Daily Beast.
  • Winner has been charged under the Espionage Act and faces up to 10 years in prison. "Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government," Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said in a statement, per the Washington Post. He praised the fast work of investigators in tracking down Winner.
  • The Outline looks at how Winner was caught, which it says shows "how not to leak secret documents." She allegedly communicated with the Intercept from a computer at work before printing the document and mailing it to a news outlet. One of the clues that led investigators to Winner was a tell-tale crease mark on a copy an Intercept reporter showed another government official; the mark suggested it had been printed and folded, leading the government to probe who could have printed it.
  • According to a Justice Department affidavit, Winner has admitted taking the document and sending it to the news outlet. She is in jail pending a detention hearing later this week.
(More leaked documents stories.)

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