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How Did the NSA & FBI Track Down Vet who Leaked Top Secret Report?

reality winner

By Debbie Gregory.

On June 3, 2017, Air Force veteran and federal contractor Reality Leigh Winner was arrested on charges of leaking top-secret intelligence about an NSA report on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 election to The Intercept.

The document is the strongest public indication that Russia interfered in the U.S. presidential election. It states that Russian military intelligence launched an attack on at least one U.S. voting-software supplier and sent “spear-phishing” emails to at least 100 local election officials shortly before the election.

But how did the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation trace the leaked report back to Winner, who held a top security clearance?

When the NSA started investigating the leak on May 30th after a journalist from The Intercept asked the agency to comment on the printed report, they knew that six people had printed out the document, thanks to an internal audit. Winner was among them. As a contractor for the NSA with Pluribus International Corporation, Winner had access.

After examining the document, it was determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded or creased, “suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space,” according to the criminal complaint.

After a search of her work computer, investigators for the NSA and FBI found that Winner had emailed the document to The Intercept from her private email and also printed out the classified document in the office.

“Because the NSA logs all printing jobs on its printers, it can use this to match up precisely who printed the document,” according to security expert Rob Graham. He explained that printed documents have small yellow dots that help track where they are printed.

WikiLeaks accused the journalists at The Intercept of helping the NSA track Winner down so fast, because they handed over the printed documents.

Winner has admitted to mailing the document and is in jail awaiting trial

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AF Vet Charged With Leaking Classified Material on Russian Election Hacking

reality winner

By Debbie Gregory.

A 25-year-old Air Force veteran and federal contractor has been accused of leaking classified information regarding a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack to an online news outlet.

Reality Leigh Winner was arrested on June 3 and charged with leaking classified material to a digital news outlet, the Department of Justice announced yesterday. She is now being held at a facility in Lincolnton, GA, her attorney said

Arrested at her home in Augusta, GA, Winner allegedly “printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it.”

Winner enlisted in the Air Force in 2013, serving as an airman first class with the 94th Intelligence Squadron at Fort Meade, Maryland, until earlier this year when she separated. She maintained a top secret clearance after separating from the military.

Winner allegedly mailed the classified documents to online news outlet The Intercept. The documents, characterized the documents as “the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light,” alleged that Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU, hacked “at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election.”

Winner admitted to printing out the classified information, leaving her office with it, and intentionally mailing it to The Intercept, despite knowing the consequences, according to the arrest warrant.

“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.