Friday, 22 September, 2017

US Charges Contractor for Leaking Top-Secret NSA Document

Felix Bryan | 06 June, 2017, 05:34

A 25-year-old contractor has been charged with leaking NSA files that claim Russian intelligence hacked at least one maker of voting software used in 2016's U.S. elections.

"Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors.executed cyber espionage operations against a named USA company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions", the report states. It doesn't say whether the hacking had any effect on election results.

The dossier claims that on August 24, 2016, elements from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) began a spear-phishing attack against companies that supply USA election systems. Within the past few hours, United States officials confirmed to Reuters that The Intercept's document is genuine, and that victor is the alleged source of the file.

The online news outlet said the NSA report depicted a hacking operation tied closely to Moscow's GRU intelligence directorate that targeted private U.S. companies providing voter registration services and equipment to local governments around the country. He also declined to name the federal agency for which victor worked. ".The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to.launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting USA local government organisations". Reality Leigh Winner, 25, who reportedly worked at an NSA facility in Georgia, was arrested over the weekend. The complaint states an internal audit showed that victor was one of six people who printed the document, but she was the only one who had email contact with the news outlet.

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation conducted a broad influence campaign for the goal of undermining Hillary Clinton's candidacy and sowing doubts about the democratic process if she had won.

The Intercept co-founding editor, Glenn Greenwald, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Justice Department says victor admitted to leaking the documents when the Federal Bureau of Investigation searched her home on Saturday.

"My client has no (criminal) history, so it's not as if she has a pattern of having done anything like this before", Nichols said in a phone interview Monday.

The government learned of the leak after a reporter contacted an individual working at another government contractor seeking an opinion about the document. "All this craziness has happened all of a sudden". When she was questioned, she admitted removing the intelligence and mailing it to the news outlet. Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept. Investigation into the six people involved in printing that document revealed victor had been in contact with The Intercept around the time it changed hands.

"I think she's trying to be courageous for me", Billie Winner said.

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