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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robertocarlos's picture

Total lesbian. She will enjoy jail.

aloha_snakbar's picture

" People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”


Unless your last name is Clinton...then not so much...

Banana Republican's picture

Reality could look much better with a new hairstyle.

Woah, I think I've just stumbled upon a universal truth.

Swamp Yankee's picture

I say send him to Russia, he'll fit right in.


Is it me or does this dude kinda look like a chick?

shovelhead's picture

Jeez she looks like somebodys autistic younger brother.

Salsa Verde's picture

But, but, she has a vagina!  This whole fiasco is CLEARLY sexist in nature!

BustainMovealota's picture

For such massive, intrusive and widespread election hacking/influence why wasn't Colorado, New Mexico, Maine, Oregon and host of other blue states impacted by this horrific Russian hack?

Ms No's picture

This is peak absurd.  It's astonishing.  I just hope it can't get worse.  They could at least invent stories that could pass for B movie plot status. 


FlipSide's picture

"Likely used data obtained"

Again, more theories and conjectures. Still no direct evidence. Still waiting for the actual proof. 

Omega_Man's picture

anyone can send gmail notes

WillyGroper's picture

sounds like cover for hellary/huma hides.

doyen444's picture

A bit annoying that so many of the comments are by would-be comedians. The article is important but the comments are, for the most part, silly attempts at repartee by a group of non-thinkers or should I say Americans.

shovelhead's picture

The article is important


And your comment isn't humor?


serotonindumptruck's picture

Your comment wasn't very witty or humorous.

Try again if you'd like more upvotes.

Giant Meteor's picture

Jesus Christ man ..

They burned out the Russians did it meme months ago ..

You're expecting them (deep state) to be taken serious NOW!?

robertocarlos's picture

It's not important. It's a distraction. How can a 25 year old going on 15 be responsible for the whole of Western civilization? It's a frame up to take the heat of some ugly old skank name Hill. I don't give a crap about this girl really, I hope she has a good life, in jail. She's going there. 

Hammer of Light's picture

The Early Evening Rant ~ Courtesy of this DIP-SHIT DOYEN444


Oh that's right... because there is NO FUCKING EVIDENCE OF ANYTHING! My government is a pathetic racketeering operation. This entire protection racket has gone so far out of reality is disgusting. Sorry pathetic diseased criminals running loose in the CIA, John McCain going to Syria setting up the ISIS with the twisted sick diseased rot of the Clinton's and that creature the Obama... just plain sick is what my government is.

The US mass murders and maims over 10 million since the total LIE and total INSIDE FUCKING JOB of 911  - ISRAEL YOU FUCKING WHORES AND THE UK WITH THEIR ASS MAGGOTS IN SAUDI FUCKING ARABIA ARE WHO DID THIS... and you're cryin like this?

Bitch grab your balls man and get squeezey, this whole thing stinks of cover up, manufactured evidence and now they're going to throw this young woman into a life of hell when the entire diseased lying corrupted beyond all mind fuck damned US government should be put in front of a  firing squad at this point.

All you pathetic agency fucks should be sent to the curb WITH A FUCKING EMPTY CUP IN YOUR HANDS YOU COWARDLY PIECES OF SHIT.

This is bad on every level that exists and the sad totally not credible FBI is going to arrest this woman? You in the FBI are such sad losers it makes my guts ache.

The FBI - THE NSA - the CIA should be dismantled down to every nut, bolt and building and simply done away with every last one of you fuckers should be unemployed with an empty cup in your right hand and a sign that says will work for food in your left like many of us.

What's worse is you shit stained pissed stained yellow bellied cowards in FBI didn't make the real arrest on the Clinton's. I hope every single one of you cowardly fucks when you look in the mirror you know exactly what you see... a pissed stained yellow bunch of treasonous cowards who refused to enforce the law. The law... what a sad sham of a term that is when you're all a bunch of tax parasites. FUCK YOU ALL TO YOUR DOOM for not arresting the Clinton's and taking out the trash in our government with all these pedophiles. Truly a bunch of useless fucks one and all.

DOYEN444... you really ought to grip a clue unless you're one of these sorry sack of shit snowflakes from one of these Ivy league ultra fucking libtard schools. If not, you sure as shit come off like it. No matter, this entire nations government is a sad pathetic joke. Spying on all of us, in my computer right now - FUCK YOU YOU COCK SUCKIN PRICKS!

... And now a Station Identification on the fabulous Zero Hedge... this concludes my daily and evening rant!

Spitball's picture

Rant on Brother. 

Concocted government trajedy. They keep trying to convince the stupid that government has a purpose in this country.

Lets spy on the people to no end, enrich their lives at our expense. Lie, steal, and cheat at every avenue.

We're supposed to believe anything that comes out of these shit stains?

I agree with you 100% Hammer. 

It's all lies. These fucks wouldn't know the truth if it hit them in the face.

With all the shit that's gone on in the last 6 months alone, we still have idiots who believe this shit. 

The worst part about it all, the dummies think there's a difference between the political parties in this country.

Wake up. They're all on the same team AGAINST the American people.

Hammer of Light's picture

It's a damn shame all of this. It's gotten so surreal I find it hard to even understand how these people who we are supposed to believe have our backs have completely sold us all out. I left military and government when I figured out that the entire scheme was nothing short of state sponsored racketeering. This whole farce of a war on terror, all the false flags, the absolute  - ABSOLUTE - inside job of 911 was nothing more than a multi-trillion dollar endless war on an enemy that we designed and perpetrated upon the faces of humanities children.

General Smedley Butler said it best... War is a racket.

This is one giant protection scheme. It's so far beyond the wildest dreams the mafia could ever conceive. There is no left nor right that much is abundantly clear. We as a nation and people along with the rest of the world are in horrifying trouble. I mean the type of trouble that has the potential to end the whole of humanity itself kind of trouble. There is no question in my mind we are headed for a mass democide (democide is death by governments) the likes of which we've never seen before in history.

The control grid, the "holoweb" the endless spying and the complete turning of the entire US apparatus now turned on all of us... We are flatly fucked up beyond all recognition in the direct near future. This entire house of utter butt-fuckery and lies is going to collapse any month now and I suspect tens of millions will die from it. I'm not demoralized, I just want it to hurry up and kick off to start making one hell of a lot of people hungry, cause that's what it's going to take to get Americans motivated to reverse this rotted whore of American government. It's got to be undone, reset, completely taken off-line and then spooled back up. As in 1776 2.0 is all we as citizens have left. These bastards will not self govern and they sure as shit will not convict their own. No matter, this is going to get seriously bad.

The only thing holding this nation from ripping the fucking heads off politicians and officials is this last election turning for Trump and food stamps. It's all a big fat box of lies in every direction mate. It makes me sick to my guts I ever served for this fucking diseased thing. I love my mates, but now that I know that we were lied into mass murder, I hate these fuckers to the very bottom deepest recesses of my soul for what they've done. Truly, I'm not an hateful man, I just hate being lied to and then watching millions be slaughtered and murdered because we were lied into it.

NOTHING is going to change. Not now - NOT ever until America gets very hungry and believe... that time is coming very rapidly. Then one hell of a lot of politico's and agency peeps are going to get their guts ripped out. A sheriff deputy friend of mine told me that he is freaked and so are huge numbers inside. He said they know it's all starting to come undone. He said when this thing fully goes sideways, he's taking off the tin star and will like most disappear. He said if they don't, they're nothing but targets when shit hits the fan. Can't say I blame him one bit. We all got families to think of and in the coming times, I am convinced we're going to see in our near future a total correction into fair value which will be nothing short of end of Rome.

It took a thousand years of darkness following Romes end to find the light again and only about 500 to bring us right back to the brink. I don't wish any man or woman ill, but these government things, these creatures of vomit and lies are the worst most disgusting things I have ever seen in my life time. I'll leave you with this. In my entire 60 years of life, I have NEVER SEEN PEACE EVER.

Why? Because my government is terrified peace will break out and they must invent more ways to murder the world. Sure there are bad people in the world. But think of it this way. Why am I so raging pissed off at these fuckers? Simple answer:

Less than 150,000 people died because of real terrorists in the entire 20th century.

More than 375 MILLION were murdered by governments in the 20th century.

Who should I fear most? The man with a towel wrapped around his head that we bombed his family out and now he's pissed off?

Or the people in suites that mass murder under the guise of policy to the tune of 9/11 - the 375 million dead from their wars of policy?

Nahh... definitely the government suits and their lust for murder as these diseased criminals are the true price discovery mechanism for mass murder and death and the value to them is the number of lives lost with the healthiest bottom line for number of rounds sold.

You said it best mate... it's all lies.

shovelhead's picture

Some parents are just cruel.

aloha_snakbar's picture

Even thogh she appears to be needing a 'Hair Club for Women" membership soon...I would still throw the young dog a bone...

Ms No's picture

Oh dear God, they are blaming that 14 year old?  Holy shit.  This is getting soooooo stupid.  This is why people drink. 

slice's picture

This is getting soooooo stupid.  This is why people drink.

I don't need an excuse, but it does give me an alibi.

joego1's picture

... but then the Russian hackers lost interest in the voting roles when they saw that there was 4000 entries of Jose Gonzalas. They realized they were just sloppy seconds and went spear fishing in another pond.

HRH Feant2's picture

Interesting location. The only large government agency located near Augusta, Georgia, is Fort Gordon, a US Army base which is the home of the Signal Corps.

Publicus_Reanimated's picture

She was at her home and arrested on a Saturday.  God knows where she was working M-F.

HRH Feant2's picture

It is kind of a clue that government contractors working with the NSA would be located near the HQ for military communications, also known as the Signal Corps, in the US.

Jeez do I have to spell it out for you?

Interested_Observer's picture

Sign at the base gate says "Home of US Army Cyber Command". Saw a post on twitter, they are hiring. (No joke)

HRH Feant2's picture

Really? Cool! I haven't been there in many years. Sounds like they have caught up with the modern era.

For the record, they still keep an old teletype on the back up version of Air Force One. Just in case, or so I heard on the HIstory Channel. Which means they have more teletypes on the ground in various locations around the world. Anyone want the job maintaining that old stuff? Hehehehe! Not me! Laughing because my MOS was 31J10 back in the day!

sheikurbootie's picture

Large NSA facility moved to Fort Gordon a few years ago.

HRH Feant2's picture

Ahhh okay! That makes sense considering that Fort Gordon is home of the Signal Corps and has a large number of comm students. Perfect location, match, to coordinate new tech with the various comm schools.

I simply made an educated guess based on past experience. I haven't been in the area for a number of years so thanks for the update!

sheikurbootie's picture


I have friends in the biz is the only reason I knew about it.

Ft Meade NSA outgrew their spot.  Several large remote sites opened up in the last 10 years.  It's much cheaper to live in Ga than DC too.

HRH Feant2's picture

Got i!. That makes sense. There is also Fort Stewart which is on the coast (or near to it). Probably a good idea to have another cable line that hooks up with the east coast in a location away from NYC / DC. Those are vulnerable areas.

Not only is the cost of living decent but there is also great golfing in Augusta! Nice country club too :)

Consuelo's picture



There's a lot on the line for the Clintons...  

That means no amount nor kind of skullduggery is too low, nor life too cheap to waste in order that the queen witch remain unscathed.


'His name is...'


opport.knocks's picture

Fake news by the master fakers. She will be back on staff somewhere else with a different name. That is if her identity was "real" to begin with.

Publicus_Reanimated's picture

As of 7:15 p.m. Eastern time the NY Times does not have this story.  Waiting for its master to tell it what to print.

40MikeMike's picture

I can't decide if Reality should be doused in gasoline and set on fire or if Reality and every family member to the third cousin should be doused in gasoline and set on fire?

I'll figure it out somehow. 


Well this pos milenial is one of many. More to come.


How did this future pile of ashes obtain access to this data?


In all seriousness Reality I sincerely hope you hang yourself to spare us the expense. Think about sparing your loved ones too and do the right thing and murder-suicide the whole pack.

HowdyDoody's picture

What a day:

i) Putin interview confirms US Derangement Syndrome still going strong
ii) Qatar thrown under the bus by Saudis, and UAE
iii) Qatar outs UAE/Israel collusion
iv) UK terror bomber took part in TV program acting as terrorist
v) UK terrorist ID card found (phew at least something doesn't change)
vi) Germany starts the possible splintering of NATO
vii) Zionists trying to link al Qaeda and Iran via hostage bribe (yeah, the goys will fall for that, no problem)
viii) NSA contractor leak attempt to frame Russian over hacking (see i)

BustainMovealota's picture

.."Russia's smartest, government hackers somehow left a trail so obvious that it would allow the NSA to conclude in under a month"  -  Bingo,  thats main reason this is all fukin bullshit.

Even Russians dumbest hackers wouldn't leave a trail.

Peak Finance's picture

So wait lets recap it all in one post so we can bask in the glory of this:

  • A 25 year old chick
  • On the job for 3 months
  • Named "Reality Winner"
  • gets "Hey your awesome!" Security Clearence (3 months on the job remember)
  • AND somehow gets access to the single most politically important piece of intelligence since the Nixon tapes
  • AND "leaks" it to give the intel some "street cred" !


indygo55's picture

Right on man.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

sheikurbootie's picture

Prior military, graduate of DLI-learned Arabic, Pashtu, etc.

Held TS in military (USAF)

She knew better

She's a liberal

Rainbow decal on back of Nissan Cube

This is 10-20 years in Federal prison, no parole.

Centerist's picture

Amen.  She deserves no hero status--only jail.

PrometeyBezkrilov's picture

Don't forget that she made a proud selfie before releasing the information. Obviously the nation should know the heroes in the face.

Åristotle's picture

Plato's philosopher kings will create their own reality.

Publicus's picture

Traitors get the death penalty.

Clowns on Acid's picture

All thru the alleged NSA "report"..... but NO metadata evidence...just words.... As opposed to 1000's of metadata evidence versus Hillary illegal emails, DNC leaks, John Podesta leaked emails, Clinton Foundation emails......all hard metadata evidence...


SantaClaws's picture

I agree it's too convenient.  Who benefits?  The anti-Trump groups.  No doubt Megan Kelly, if she's still on the air after Putin slammed her, will be seeking an interview.

bwdiii's picture

...and Comey invoking the "my ass is on fire" defense... I'm thinking he's gonna get ping ponged...