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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CompleteAphasia's picture

I would have guessed ADX Florence, but the BOP apparently does not have a designated supermax facility for the females. 

Dewey Cheatum and Howe's picture

Standing by and wating for HRC to come out and yell...THERE SHE IS, THATS HER...SHE RUINED MY ELECTION, BY LEAKING CLASSIFIED DOCS, on the other hand..never mind. its a sick world.

AlbertthePudding's picture

Is this a joke..after everything Wikileaks has released from Vault 7..what a joke..of course CNN viewers wouldn't know what Vault 7 is because they wouldn't have learned of it from CNN I shouldn't imagine.

yellowsub's picture

I thought the picture caption was about a reality show winner not her name!  

shortonoil's picture

They probably caught her giggering the office coffee machine and threatened life in prision if she didn't cooperate. Poor kid, but sleep with pigs and get pig shit all over yourself.

didthatreallyhappen's picture

how dare you think she is a woman.  how dare you think she is white.  how dare you think.

Sinophile's picture

I am not stupid.  I also remember that it has been confirmed that the CIA can make hacks and divert the tracks to incriminate whomever they want blamed for the hacks. That pretty much says it all, if you ask me.  The Russians know that.  Everybody knows that except dumbass Amurkins with the attention span of a freaking inbred cocker spaniel.

Robert Trip's picture

You sound like an idiot.

Which village?

unklemunky's picture

I'll bet you carry one of those fag European man purses don't you you little whiney pussy. You are welcome for use protecting you and your dads pansy fag asses for the last 50 years. Euroqueer.

lake's picture

The girl thought she was being cute. Now her life is over. 

lennysrv's picture

Seriously, her name sounds highly hooker-esque.

DieSocialJusticeWankers's picture

She oozes bacterial vaginosis.

Robert Trip's picture

Reality is going to go prime time in maximum.

I hope she likes dark meat.

RICKYBIRD's picture

Her new name is Reality Check Loser.

bankbob's picture

DO NOT BE A SUCKER!

This is a backdoor leak engineered to deligitimize the actually votes cast in 2016 Presidential Election.

The Deep State is Going after Trump.  And, they do not care if it leads to insurrection.

south40_dreams's picture

Or, this was a sting, and that was sting bait

amenlight's picture

You are right! She could have been a "plant" by the deep state!

Catahoula's picture

Dirty little cunt

lake's picture

ALL obama holdovers should be let go, immediately. Long overdue.

DuneCreature's picture

Well, first off how would the NSA know anything for sure? .. They get a digital feed off of a 'router like' tap. ... Are not they aware of the spoofing software that is in the CIA hacker toolkit? ... The CIA can make the source look like anybody.

Now that the CIA toolkit has been pilfered and made public through the Vault 7 leak, anyone can spoof anyone else.

I sure hope Reality Winner doesn't really exist because from the look of her picture she is kind of hot and melty.

I would hate to see her rotting in prison with nothing to do but swapping Bad Government Puppy (tm) stories with Cheezy Manning all day.

The Big Shit Show (tm) continues..........

Live Hard, With A Name Like Reality Leigh Winner I Bet She Lives On Some CIA Computer Somewhere At 105 Root Drive Apt 007, Die Free

~ DC v6.0

IndyPat's picture

Cheezy is out of the brig.

Not much fanfare.

DieSocialJusticeWankers's picture

Has 4Chan found her nude pics yet??? LOL

gwar5's picture

They should also arrest her parents for giving this bitch such a fucked up name. She's just a snowflake, not a Snowden. Reality Winner is now a reality loser and voted off the streets.

Arrest a few more little fish like her and there can be no justification for allowing big time RICO offenders Hillary, Huma, Blumenthal, and Podesta to freely walk the streets after trafficking in classified information off a homemade bathroom server. Lock all 'em up, Bitchezzz...

 

 

King of Ruperts Land's picture

The "secret info" sounds like bait for catching leakers.

DarthVaderMentor's picture

Yep, you got that one right! The memo could have been manufactured for a classic humint honeypot operation to catch any sigint leakers and the other 5 readers referenced in the warrant might be sweating bullets right now.....

grunk's picture

Did. the FBI drop the hammer now because of Comey's upcoming testimony or did they do it to throw a wrench into Comey's testimony?

 

Mike Rotsch's picture

Oh goodie!  An example!  I've been complaining about a lack of those for years now!  

ironmace's picture

Reality Winner. I can't even read this shit.

Mzhen's picture

Miss Winner shows an address at Goodfellow Air Force Base in San Angelo, Texas.  Parents in Kingsville, Texas.

Mpizzie's picture

how's the sting operation of fake info feel!

too bad, i looked at her FB - she had a nice bod.

ToSoft4Truth's picture

Give her Anthrax. 

powerkhan's picture

Winner reality? What the fuck kind of name is that?

powerkhan's picture

More like reality LOSER, aye!

JLee2027's picture

When are they arresting the people who published this? It's marked TOP SECRET for a reason.

RICKYBIRD's picture

Apparently the Feds talked to the publisher and they cooperated. Of course, the Feds probably told them they already had a confession.

Insurrexion's picture

Reality Leigh Winner is or was U.S. Air force before NSA Contractor.

Age 25

Current (or former known) Address:

161 Nuchols St #7966
Goodfellow Afb, TX 76908-3316

420 E County Road 2190
Kingsville, TX 78363-2618

Mother:

Billie J Kleinschmidt Age 51  (Billie Jean Winner Age 51)

Current Address 420 E County Road 2190
Kingsville, TX 78363-2618
Phone Numbers (361) 595-0597 - (361) 935-4894 - Email Addresses bwinner1@verizon.net bwinner@verizon.net billied@lycos.com billied@awesomenet.net Goodfellow Air Force Base, this isolated West Texas city of 87,000 may harbor more spies, ex-spies and future spies per capita than any place in America, save Washington, D.C.
amenlight's picture

Jack Posobiec reporting her real name is Sara Winner, She changed it legally to Reality!!!

Insurrexion's picture

Goodfellow Air Force Base, San Angelo, TX, the isolated West Texas city of 87,000 may harbor more spies, ex-spies and future spies per capita than any place in America, save Washington, D.C.

Since the late 1950s, the relatively obscure base, 90 miles of two-lane highway south of Abilene, has trained thousands of men and women in the increasingly high-tech art of signals intelligence, known in military jargon as SIGINT.

The stock and trade of the super-secret National Security Agency, SIGINT is one of the most closely held, least discussed aspects of U.S. intelligence efforts.

It would be difficult to spend a career in Air Force intelligence without some association with Goodfellow and San Angelo.

She has been employed at the facility since on or about February 13,2017,and has held a Top Secret clearance during that time.

 

"The U.S.Government Agency conducted an internal audit to determine who accessed the intelligence reporting since its publication. The U.S. Government Agency determined that six individuals printed this reporting. WINNER was one of these six individuals. A further audit of the six individuals' desk computers revealed that WINNER had e-mail contact with the News Outlet. The audit did not reveal that any of the other individuals had e-mail contactwiththeNewsOutlet."


IndyPat's picture

Yup.

It's all in the logging. Extra 10 yrs for being a complete shithead.

mcl2177's picture

How do we not know this wasn't the CIA leaving traces of Russia hacker behind in purpose to frame Trump? Or was this done to find a Trump hating leaker?

BitchesBetterRecognize's picture

3 days away from Comey's testimony, as this shit happens.....

 

gotta love the timing... 

Mzhen's picture

Comey's conversations with Trump took place in January and February.  This "investigation" commenced in April.

IdioTsincracY's picture

buried in the Intercept article:

Data theft of this variety is typically encrypted, meaning anyone observing an infected network wouldn’t be able to see what exactly was being removed but should certainly be able to tell something was afoot, Williams added. Overall, the method is one of “medium sophistication,” Williams said, one that “practically any hacker can pull off.”

The NSA, however, is uncertain about the results of the attack, according to the report. “It is unknown,” the NSA notes, “whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed by the cyber actor.”

------

If it sounds like Bullshit, and it reads like bullshit, it must be  .....

JailBanksters's picture

Well thank Gawd somebody hacked the Election otherwise there'd be Clinton in the White House.

So .... THANKYOU

Thom Paine's picture

She wasn't that smart.

She will do prison for sure and future job prospects zero, with no clearances every again.

Hope she likes girls.

AND kinda does look like a sting operation.

Thom Paine's picture

She has signed photo from Cooper.

SO just how long has she been leaking that she can get that with that comment on it.

  • Seems like she has been doing it for a while.

They knew, and set her up, seems like.

amenlight's picture

Could she has been an un-named source leaker to CNN???

indio007's picture

The gov't + Intercept  story makes zero sense.

 

The doc was bait most likely.