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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squid's picture

Why does this girl get charged with leaking documents and cankles and huma get off Scott free?

Just thought I'd ask.



Cassandra.Hermes's picture

ZH stop being Trump ass kissers!!!
THE NEWS IS "Russian intelligence agents hacked a US voting systems manufacturer in the weeks leading up to last year’s presidential election.
The Russian military intelligence carried out a cyber-attack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than a hundred local election officials days before the poll,"
And you Trump fat ass kissers are of course OK, you will give any dignity for your supreme leader.

Thom Paine's picture

LoL. Whatever floats your boat. 

You mean those Soros owned Voting machine companies right??

That come pre-hacked.


The  girl is a stupid bitch.  

If you are going to leak, you make it worthwhile, then run away.

What she leaked (be it real or fake) makes no difference anymore. The games played out. But the Hillary losers cant let go and will continue to lose their credibility all the way to the 2018 mid terms.  morons them all.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

OK Soros is not born in USA as me if he has hacked the election & you can prove it, he can be kicked out. Can you prove it?
The Russian General Staff Main intelligence directorate was caught and Reality Winner leaked the documents.
So you have fact vs allegations, so who is the stupid bitch again?

pparalegal's picture

And that has ties to Donald Trump exactly how? Sounds more like a Hillary/ Podesta operation.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

Nobody claims that it does, what i claim is that you are his ass kissers and try to change the news

RICKYBIRD's picture

It's part of the same "election hacking" conspiracy that "cloaked" Wisconsin so that Hillary couldn't locate it.

DarthVaderMentor's picture

All they can gleam forensically speaking is that it came from an IP address within Russian boundaries. It might or might not be controlled by the Russian government and may or may not be the source of this TCP applications data and other incidents (which I doubt). If the Russian government fell for the phisihing attempt addressed to them from an unknown party, then they could be just a relay IP address with a "source address washer" that can either hide the true source of the hack or even attribute via lexical scanning and insertion any other IP address for attribution purposes. 

In other words, all this euphoria knowing or attributing who is responsible for any of these hackings or attempted alleged hacking is nothing than pure emotional BS that would never stand up in any court of law and any responsible and competent intelligence agency executive would have laughed at any Chief of Station or signals intelligence analyst that even brought it to them.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

No is not IP Address voting equipment made by VR Systems, a Florida-based vendor was hacked by Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate or GRU
The actors used data obtained from that operation to launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.

RICKYBIRD's picture

There were no "actors". It was a sting operation to catch a leaker. It caught you too.

perkunas's picture

Yes It was the Russians, they twisted my arm, so I voted trump.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

Yes it was the Russians, they chew your brains with phishing emails like the one that Hillary shut down an investigation into an elite pedophile ring,
I personally got 20+ emails about it

TwelveOhOne's picture

(choking) "It was the Dukes!  It was the Dukes!"

RICKYBIRD's picture

The "NEWS" was the bait, you dummy. It was put there to temp a leaker.

Cassandra.Hermes's picture

Yes the news is bait because it doesn't serve the agenda of the supreme leader, right ?

DarthVaderMentor's picture

Good, quick work from the FBI and other counter intelligence agencies. The actual signed warrant from 6/3/2017 is here


Read it! Gives a lot of interesting tidbits. 

Her car, accodring to the warrant is a Nissan Cube, and there's a red pickup on Google Maps so she must be living or socializing with someone else who owns the pickup. 

Left for Belize on vacation just after she gave the information to the Intercept. She mailed it from Augusta, GA, which is real stupid if she knew she was going to Belize because she could have mailed it from there or even a transit airport mailbox!

For a millenial (she's 25) she sure didn't know much about forensic IT and how easily she could have been tracked. The Intercept reporter, from the warrant, may have also committed some felonies as well. 

Most interesting fact is that this breach has made it public knowledge that there's an NSA facilitiy in Augusta, Georgia, located at either Savannah River Nuclear or the North Air Force Auxiliary field. This now alerts the opposition that any auxiliary airfield is a potential NSA site.




pparalegal's picture

Nice to know background checks are no longer necessary to work for the NSA. Would probably violate some unicorn magic progressive made up constitutional right.


Or is the NSA and FBI really that incompetent? Inquiring minds want to know.

RICKYBIRD's picture

They are really that incompetent. NSA gave the keys to the family virus vault to lots of "independent contractors". Almost certainly one of them stole them and leaked them. Now there are viruses all over the place.

Dilluminati's picture

She did it for the sex change, I'm convinced, Occum's Razor and isshh certain.


Dilluminati's picture

I'm f0cking disapointed in you numbskulls, she wanted to grow a DEEEEEK!

Yes now that she is in prison she can get a sex change operation and be something "special"

She wants a dick, a huge, hairy, hormone induced dick on tax payer dollar grown for f0cking free so when she gets pardoned she can bone other leakers!

She did it for the free dick treatment, for the fame, for the pardon trans criminals have come to expect from the government.


On a serious note, this shit true she deserves an execution.


Rikky's picture

I was wondering why when I went to vote that day the person behind the counter called me Boris.

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

I couldn't agree more with the "Air Force" representative about DAPL but that is the excuse not reason she did what she did... Having said this look at what Cheeto-in-Chief has already done betraying the trust of those who voted for him on investigating Saudi Arabia for 9/11 and then turning around 5 months later giving them the "tent dwellers" a hummer on his presidential knee pads for writing the bonus check for $300 billion in continuing the funding of IS.U.S. after Yemen... "Tomahawking Syria"... and MOABing Afghanistan... and escalating with China and Russia through North Korea...

This says it better than ANYTHING "WHY" this ugly Air Force bitch is a "whore" for money just like her commander-in-thief (https://southfront.org/video-msm-propaganda-turns-against-itself-as-fami...)

FUCK the U.S.A.!!!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Oh.. And by the way?... Like it or Not...

The U.S. and Israel WERE THE ONLY REASON for 9/11...

Just like Pervez Musharraf having The "DICK" Armitage waving his finger in his face that if Pakistan wasn't the compliant vassal to the U.S. post 9/11 they would become nuclear waste if they didn't "FOLLOW THE LEADERS"!

"Chicken" and "Egg" folks!!!

Son of Captain Nemo's picture

Vladimir Putin

Sign this motherfucker (http://www.ae911truth.org/signatures/ae.html) and tell the World the TRUTH of "WHO" gave you "Chechnyan Rebels" 10 years before it happened, Beslan and the Maidan!!!

Since "Cheeto-in-Chief" doesn't have the balls or "cares" to do it THAT LEAVES YOU!!!

pipes's picture

Every day...more stupid bullshit.

...and so many of you idiots swallow it hook, line, and sinker, judging from the comments section.

Several have suggested that the file was 'leak bait'.


It was 'stupid fucking asshole' bait...not intended to catch leaks, but intended to gauge the true depths of gullibility and idiocy of the consuming public.

silverer's picture

How was she supposed to know it was authored by CNN?

silverer's picture

Uh oh. She leaked a fake document.

DarthVaderMentor's picture

Possible, but the warrant talks of creases and a restricted print distribution. They'll know what printer it cam from through the print itself and the watermark of the paper. They may even know who loaded the paper on the printer from fingerprints and DNA.

According to the warrant, she mailed an original. If so, she was really dumb in mailing the orginal, and postmarking it in Augusta, GA, that's for sure. 

RICKYBIRD's picture

It's a fake document. Read "Canary Trap" on Wikipedia, which another ZH poster referenced.

HRH Feant2's picture

That was just discussed on CNN. BTW, Anderson Cooper didn't mention the autographed photo.

GracchusBrothers's picture


How convenient and conspired.

Mr.Kowalski's picture

The big fat dykes in prison are name this darling Reality Bites Loser.  And for what.. a signed pic of Anderson Cooper. At least she won't have a chance to breed. 

BlussMann's picture

Sounds like a load of Deep State Bull - "Winner" or whoever, is busted for tipping "intelligence" of attempted Russian interference in the otherwise normally rigged US Presidential election - adds credence to the Democrats libel against Trump. After this incident is used to facilitate the impeachment of Trump, "Winner" will silently exit the Fed Penal System, a few million dollars richer, with a new ID. Deep State wins again.

LOL123's picture

Oh pleeezzzze  this news leak was so amaturish that a fifth grader computer geek could have done better.

From Pluribus websit:

Our intelligence professionals fuse geographic area and functional knowledge with current and future systems, processes, lessons learned, and relevant supporting tools to bring unparalleled capabilities and expertise to apply to our customers' most urgent requirements. Our staff has years of in-depth operational and analytical expertise in the areas of:


  • All-Source Intelligence
  • Counterterrorism (CT)
  • Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
  • Geo-Spatial Intelligence (GEOINT)
  • Counterintelligence (CI)
  • Human Intelligence (HUMINT)
  • Imagery Intelligence (IMINT)
  • Measurement and Signatures Intelligence (MASINT)


We apply our expertise in these core intelligence disciplines to today’s most pressing national security problems, including identifying and defeating the Insider Threat, exposing and thwarting threats to critical Research, Development, and Acquisition (RDA) and Science and Technology (S&T) programs, monitoring trans-nationalTerrorist Watchlists, and performing a wide range of Multi-INT Collection Management, Analysis, and Training.

" insider threat" right right. Either they don't train their employees very good or they hire incompetent workers.

Nothing buger... Move on to middle east issues heating up. Meh!

SmittyinLA's picture

She got schlonged

VWAndy's picture

 More secret evidence? That only flys if you have some credibility.

  Reality Winner? um no

Jethro's picture

"Reality Winner"....she sure didnt look like what I was expecting.  Was mom a stripper?  And, this girl is a jew as well?  What does that make this name, negrew? Hegroe? 

Reaper's picture

They'd kill a president, but not use a patsy to plant false info? The nature of spy agencies is convoluted deceit.

SmittyinLA's picture

She leaked because she was pissed about the pipeline?

....in the middle of leak investigations with traps everywhere no less

Thank god she hasn't reproduced yet

gcjohns1971's picture

Anyone consider that every detail of the case might be true?

Think about it.

If she is the AUTHOR of the classified report, then this almost a PERFECT information operation.

None of the prosecutors will be willing to reveal that the report is based on nothing but this snowflake's political bias.  

To prosecute the case they have no incentive to reveal that the leaked report is BS.

indio007's picture


Why the hell does this company even have this information?

Why is Farsi & Pastu translator working at a 6 year old network hardware virtualization company?



Alot of fishy investors too.


A cursory anysis of the company reveals some reall messed up stuff.

JD59's picture

Another COMMIE KKK JIHADI HATE FILLED PROGRESSIVE LIBTARD DEMOCRAT destroying America, because they know best.

IndyPat's picture

One thing's for sure....

Now there is a healthy dose of cold paranoia on BOTH sides of the router interface.
Some asses be definitely puckering, now that hunting tags have been issued.

Someone's watching the watchers. Bout fucking time.

the cork's picture


What a steaming pile.

Even a child should be able to see through this obvious "Bait."


How better to prop up the phony Russian Hacking fairy tale ?


Catch a "leaker" OMG !!!


Another Snowden? - Don't fall for it. - Don't be stupid. - She's no Snowden.


She's an obvious government plant.


She'll be well compensated for "taking the fall" to try and sell their counterfeit narrative.


IndyPat's picture

The fishermen saw her social media leanings.
They knew what bait she'd bite on.
Almost unsporting, really. Almost...

Dipshit was there 3 months or something.

trillion_dollar_deficit's picture

This pussy hat resistance Sanders lover starts a position Feb 13th that gives her the ability to access top secret info and less than two months later she leaks a major story to Glenn Greenwald's group.

Who got her this position and directed her to do this?

flyonmywall's picture

"But, there was no intent to do harm. No reasonable prosecutor would prosecute her." - Comey the Waffler


IndyPat's picture

You, my friend...have won....

The Internet.

Nice shot.

captain-nemo's picture

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


That pretty much sais it all.