FBI Arrests NSA Contractor Who Leaked Top Secret "Russian Hacking" Document To The Intercept

Tyler Durden's picture

Earlier this afternoon, the Intercept reported that according to a "top secret NSA document", Russian Military Intelligence "executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before election."

The NSA document, reportedly dated May 5, analyzes recently acquired intelligence about "a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure." The document notes that investigation only began in the last few months. The document claims the investigation was spurred by "information that became available in April 2017."

According to the Intercept, the report is "the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. It is said to reveal that that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into U.S. voting systems than was previously understood" and "states unequivocally in its summary statement that it was Russian military intelligence, specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, that conducted the cyber attacks described in the document." This is what the document alleges:

Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

While the manufacturer victimized by the attack has its name masked throughout the report, the Hill suggests that it might be VR Systems. The email account used to spear-phish customers is listed as vr.elections@gmail.com, and the attack made use of malware-infected files with titles that reference to the EViD poll book system. The report makes reference to voter-registration themed phishing attacks against third parties possibly using information from the account, making it likely the company is somehow related to registration or voter roles. VR's website says EViD products were used in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, New York and Virginia. The company is based in Florida.

The NSA document alleges the GRU hacked the voting systems company using a false Google alert requiring a target to enter login credentials. According to the report, it also attempted a parallel campaign using a false email account meant to be confused with a second company.  And yet, despite all that "sophistication", Russia's smartest, government hackers somehow left a trail so obvious that it would allow the NSA to conclude in under a month, that Russia's GRU was behind it. Which is also where the story become questionable because at roughly the same time, another set of alleged Russian hackers, the Shadow Brokers, was in possession (and trying to sell) weaponized CIA methods, allowing any potential hacker to adopt the identity of anyone else, even the CIA or NSA.

Lack of coherent narrative aside, according to the official report, on one hand the NSA summary judgment conflicts with Vladimir Putin’s ongoing denials that Russia had interfered in foreign elections: “We never engaged in that on a state level, and have no intention of doing so.” The NSA report, the Intercept claims, "displays no doubt that the cyber assault was carried out by the GRU."

That said, the report does not claim that voting machines were hacked, a once-popular post-election theory from Democrats, nor does it state whether the information pertaining to the voting systems could be used to hack those systems. 

On the other hand, the same Intercept article notes that  "a U.S. intelligence officer who declined to be identified cautioned against drawing too big a conclusion from the document because a single analysis is not necessarily definitive." Still, the assessment concluded with high confidence that the Kremlin ordered an extensive, multi-pronged propaganda effort “to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

It is not immediately clear how Russian GRU hackers would make the leap between a spear-phishing campaign of election officials to successfully "denigrating Secretary Clinton, and her electability and potential presidency" unless of course that is merely the biased assessment of the original report's author, in which case it is no different, or "useful", than the intel report released in January which "found" Russian involvement (much like this one allegedly did).

Since the document is confidential, and is only held by the Intercept, and since it will not be unclassified, nothing that is contained inside it can be verified, aside from the Intercept's own summary take. Furthermore, according to the author, not even the leaked document "shows the underlying “raw” intelligence on which the analysis is based." In other words, just like the January Russian hacking report, it is yet another allegation. At that point, it once again devolves to "he said, she said" mutual allegations.

Where the story gets more interesting, however, is that  just hours after the Intercept reported on the top secret document, the FBI arrested and charged the woman (with the peculiar name Reality Leigh Winner) they say leaked a Top Secret document to The Intercept.

This is what the DOJ released moments ago:

Federal Government Contractor in Georgia Charged With Removing and Mailing Classified Materials to a News Outlet

 

A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).

 

Winner was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday, June 3, and appeared in federal court in Augusta this afternoon.

 

“Exceptional law enforcement efforts allowed us quickly to identify and arrest the defendant,” said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. “Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”

 

According to the allegations contained in the criminal complaint:

 

Winner is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation assigned to a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia. She has been employed at the facility since on or about February 13, and has held a Top Secret clearance during that time. On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.

Once investigative efforts identified Winner as a suspect, the FBI obtained and executed a search warrant at her residence. According to the complaint, Winner agreed to talk with ag

 

nts during the execution of the warrant. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a "need to know," and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified. Winner further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents.

 

An individual charged by criminal complaint is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.

 

The prosecution is being handled by Trial Attorney Julie A. Edelstein of the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia. The investigation is being conducted by the FBI.

Meet Reality Winner: the new Edward Snowden:

So another "Snowden"-type NSA contractor who went rogue, only this one wasn't smart enough to cover her tracks, and instead of seeking asylum in Russia, Reality Winner will now spend years in US Federal Prison. Also, perhaps notable, is that instead of approaching Wikileaks, the leaker decided to go with The Intercept this time.

As for the underlying allegation, that Putin lied not only in St Petersburg and to Megyn Kelly most recently, and that Russia somehow did try to hack a "named US company to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions", even though the report does not reveal the underlying “raw” intelligence - i.e., evidence - on which the analysis is based, we look forward to this stirring up yet another round of media frenzy just as the Russian hacking narrative was slowly taking a back seat to the the upcoming featured spectacle, this Thursday's James Comey testimony about being strongarmed by Trump to stop investigating Mike Flynn, which among other things will hopefully explain how nearly a year after these alleged hacks, aside from the occasional leaked report without evidence, there is still no actual evidence - leaked or otherwise - confirming that Russia's GRU did indeed "hack" the election.

* * *

Update: some additional details have emerged about leaker Reality Leigh Winner, who for some inexplicable reason had a top security clearance.

According to the Guardian's John Swaine, Winner  is a former US Air Force linguist who speaks Pashto, Farsi & Dari

* * *

Here she is calling the president a "piece of shit" on Facebook over his handling of DAPL:

* * *

Winner posting an autographed photo of Anderson Cooper on facebook.

* * *

Her facebook post before the election in which she says "this Tuesday when we become the United States of the Russian Federation, Olympic lifting will be the national sport."

* * *

Here she is visiting the office of US Senator Perdue before leaking the classified docs.

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Gen. Ripper's picture

Her new reality is unfolding

Handful of Dust's picture

"Releasing classified information...threatens national security...."

 

So when will Hillary be arrested? How may hundreds of thousands of pages.....even AFTER she got the subpoena.

overbet's picture

She'll look good in orange.

Art Van_Delay's picture

A cankles fan and voter.

They all end up in jail while Trump fans and voters become heroes:

VIDEO: Man Hailed as Hero for Leaping Through Car Window to Save Stranger’s Life


El Oregonian's picture

The snake still slithers. Cut off the head before it churns out more eggs!

847328_3527's picture

Do the Lois Lerner 4-Step:

1) Hire Lois Lerner's lawyer;

2) sit there looking nonplused;

3) plead the 5th over and over;

4) walk away free.

BaBaBouy's picture

Yeah, Tell Me, And JFK was assassinated by the Lone-Wolf Oswald...

knukles's picture

I told her that if she was gonna use Google, to put it on private so she wouldn't get caught.
But does anybody listen to me?

nmewn's picture

She really should have used Platte River Networks, I understand that as part of their maintenance package (conveniently appearing on your monthly billing statement) they do house calls! The tech shows up within 24hrs with a tool belt full of shit...like hammers, blowtorches and BleachBit!  

I mean thats real value! ;-)

PrayingMantis's picture

... 25 year-old, hired on or about Feb 13, given "top security clearance", to leak out a Russian narrative ... what's wrong with this reality show winner?

;)

BullyBearish's picture

 

 

F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y   

F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y  

 F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y    

F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y    F R E E   R E A L I T Y     


AVmaster's picture

Sounds like the FBI setup what they call a "honey pot" that no Leftard could resist...

 

Keep on weed wacking.

fleur de lis's picture

The name "Reality Winner" should have been a dead giveaway.

Not even the NSA is that stupid.

So she must have been put there by other means -- the Deep State, the Clintons, the DNC, whatever.

She's very well connected, that's for sure.

Brainy not so much.

Just a known quantity for some shadowy group.

 

 

stacking12321's picture

she got the top secret clearance because she's a cunning linguist.

Von Berger's picture

If This idealistic little wot worked for GCHQ nobody would know she leaked anything and she would quietly disappear.

mkhs's picture

So now, we have entered into James Bond movies?  Pussy Galore, Dr. Goodhead, and all the rest.  Unfortunately, this name is not so sexy.

el buitre's picture

Probably married to Josh Earnest.

fleur de lis's picture

The name "Reality Winner" should have been a dead giveaway.

Not even the NSA is that stupid.

So she must have been put there by other means -- the Deep State, the Clintons, the DNC, whatever.

She's very well connected, that's for sure.

Brainy not so much.

Just a known quantity for some shadowy group.

 

 

 

 

BennyBoy's picture

 

She's the sucker.

The FBI/CIA/NSA dumfuks left the crumbs implicating GRU.

Yet another lame false flag by shits.

Dukes's picture

Notice there's essentially NO talk anymore about Vault 7?

That's bombshell stuff

TwelveOhOne's picture

"It's dark.  You're likely to be eaten by a GRUE."  I wonder if Infocom named it the GReat Underground Empire, as a reference to their agency?  (Did it even exist back in the 80s?)

Creepy_Azz_Crackaah's picture

1) Does one still have to pay their student loans while being someone's sex toy in jail?

2) Will Hillary(!) have conjugal visits with her?

Living in the South must have been torturous for her.  She'll plead insanity.

Big Twinkie's picture

Honestly, I think it was Janet Reno who made a habit of "visiting" incarcerated young women.

newdoobie's picture

It took the millitary over 18 months to give me my TS/SCI/SBI

 

She got one in less than 3 months? You gotta be kidding me. It takes a week to fill out the paperwork.  Who the hell knows their parents and grandparents date and place of birth? All your brothers and sisters/ step brothers and sisters. Step parents and all their kids. Every address and detailed work history (phone numbers bosses name and contact info) , every ticket and the circumstances, Ever smoke weed? the circumstances behind every toke!

 

And if you lie its a $10,000 fine and 5 years in prison - and we will find out!

sheikurbootie's picture

She's prior military USAF enlisted, DLI grad several languages Farsi, etc.  Enlist at 17-18, served 4-6 years, then big bucks with contractor.  Then she fucked up her life for being anti-Trump. 

Liberalism is a mental disorder with no cure or treatment.

cheech_wizard's picture

It completely reeks... I'm having to go through the process of getting a security clearance aat the moment. When the paperwork is done (namely my fucking life history) I may be granted a clearance... Big fucking deal. Still the process takes at least 6 months, so yes, this facade certainly smells like bullshit.

 

Giant Meteor's picture

Apparently employment at the E Pluribus Unum Corporation gets you on the fast track ..

Was employed by the E pluribus International Corporation of governmental what the fuck ever ....

"Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a "need to know," and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified. Winner further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents."

Well could be, could be ..

Maybe she's going the Hollywood route .. 

 

cheech_wizard's picture

I've had FBI checks run on me twice already. I'm not looking forward to doing the paperwork this time around as I was a contractor for the majority of the past 8 years, which means 5 addresses I have to dig up...as well as places of employ.

Standard Disclaimer: I'm only surprised her first name wasn't "Patsy".

 

TommyD88's picture

With her linguistics skills she wasn't in the AF peeling potatoes... She already had her TS clearance from the AF when she was hired by the civilian company.. for sure.. 

 

 

jimsoong25's picture

I went through this process and worked right beside the linguists.  I was USAF ditty-bop (Morse Code).  Our tech school was nearly six months.  I had my TS/SCI clearance when it was over and worked in Intel.  That's what she did for her one term in the USAF.  It's a crappy job.  We worked 6 days, 6 swings, 6 mids and 3 days off.  That was my first four years.  A lot of people get out after one if they're not allowed to cross train, or if their choices suck.

Edit: A linguist's tech school is very long.  I could be wrong, but I think it's about 2 years.  Because of that, she probably had to be on a six year enlistment.  18+6=24.  That's how she got her NSA job at 25.  Until this, she had made good career choices.  A TS clearance is worth money.  So are skills in critical languages.  Not many people want to learn the languages she chose.

Dancing Disraeli's picture

George Webb pointed out a few days ago that the CIA loves to use the name 'Winner" for their operatives.

Strange sense of humor, like calling their organ harvesting, muderous spinoff company Dyncorp (Dying Corp.)

Giant Meteor's picture

Spiking the reality so to speak, like the punch bowl ..

SillySalesmanQuestion's picture

George Webb is streaming live, as we speak. Says he needs help in getting the Awan Brothers story out, specifically to Trump...how bout it boys and girls, Tyler too.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4Uh7p2l6cEM

Mr. Universe's picture

I don't know, George seems to playing the part of good cop.

on Debbie Wassermay the Schwartz be with you after alluding that she had a prosecutor taken out " I don't want to put her in jail, I just to make sure the security of the US ...citizens is."

I would suggest to George that taking murderous lying scum and putting them in jail is a real step towards guaranteeing that security.

TwelveOhOne's picture

What, does he need another car ride outta danger from a guy with a chain again?

Not watching any more of his dramatic performances, even if he's got good info.  I'll read about them, thanks.

general ambivalent's picture

That name. Either her parents were hippies and CIA agents, or this is one of those (((them))) names like 'Wolf Blitzer', or 'General Breedlove'.

'Reality Winner'. Hahahaha, okay, that's your real name, sure....

mkhs's picture

But I am native American and my given name is two dogs screwing.

Crash Overide's picture

If there was something to leak it would have already leaked... why did it take so long?

Reality Winner, what the fuck? It's like the script is being written by space monkey's.

Really?

J Jason Djfmam's picture

Why not?

Our president is Reality Show Host.

Dukes's picture

With servers maintained by the Awan brothers, of course

Keyser's picture

Reality Winner?  WTF, does no one else see the irony of this person's name and the bullshit smoke screen being thrown out as a facade? 

Giant Meteor's picture

Well I believe what is being conveyed is, Reality is a bitch and has been caught red handed! We now have a clear winner!

I mean, they've worked hard for this, all that deep state has endured these last many, many years. Manning, Snowden, Wikileaks, the Russians, Comey, a cast of thousands -- being laughed at .. so let's, you know, throw them a bone ...

Ok guy's, good job on that Reality Winner thing  ..

Righteous bust man ..

bamawatson's picture

righteous bust ?
she looks flat chested

Giant Meteor's picture

Ok, admittedly I walked into that. I had it coming  ... ;)

jcaz's picture

All she needs to do is say that she can't remember;

Works for Hillary.  

I'm gonna run my "Hillary" defense in traffic court later this month.  I'll use her freedom as my basis.

 

Endgame Napoleon's picture

Yeah, the sales spiel sounds good until your techie shows up on Reddit, asking hardcore programmers how to get it done.