Young woman accused of being a leaker
A 25-year-old federal contractor was criminally charged Monday in connection with leaking classified information to a news organization — marking the first leak prosecution under the Trump administration.There is no confirmation of the data that was contained in the NSA document. There is no credible evidence that the Russians actually hacked the election results.
Reality Leigh Winner, of Augusta, Georgia, was arrested over the weekend after prosecutors said she printed a copy of a classified report and mailed it to an online news outlet, the Justice Department announced Monday.
Court documents filed in the case do not identify the outlet or describe the type of information leaked. But the details of the case appear to correspond to information included in an article published Monday afternoon by the Intercept. The article relies on an anonymously-provided National Security Agency document to detail Russian attempts to hack U.S. voting systems in the days before the 2016 presidential election.
According to the Justice Department, Ms. Winner is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and held top-secret security clearance. She began working at the government facility in Georgia from which the classified document was taken in February.
Authorities said she printed the classified document that was taken on May 9 and later mailed it to a news organization.
Documents filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia state that investigators were able to track the leaked document back to Ms. Winner as the news outlet attempted to verify the authenticity of the information. The news outlet shared a copy of the leaked report, dated May 5, with the government agency from which it was taken. The copy appeared to have a crease, which investigators believed indicated that the document “had been printed and hand-carried out of a secure space.”
An internal audit found only six employees had printed the document, and only one of those employees had been in contact with the news outlet in question, the complaint states.
Confronted by investigators over the weekend, authorities said Ms. Winner admitted to printing the document and providing it to a news outlet.
She is charged with one count of gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information.