(National Sentinel) Intelligence leaks: The Trump administration has made good on its threat to crack down on the leaking of classified data to the media, with the arrest of a federal contractor in Georgia who is charged with mailing a top secret NSA document to reporters.
As reported by the New York Post, the contractor, Reality Winner, 25, has been charged with leaking an NSA document that shows Russian military intelligence attempted to hack into at least one electronic voting machine vender while trying to ensnare about 100 state election employees with a spear phishing attack:
The highly classified intelligence document, published Monday by The Intercept, describes how Russia managed to infiltrate America’s voting infrastructure using a spear-phishing email scheme that targeted local government officials and employees.
It claims the calculated cyberattack may have even been more far-reaching and devious than previously thought.
The report is believed to be the most detailed US government account of Russia’s interference to date.
It was allegedly provided to the Intercept by 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, of Augusta, who appeared in court Monday after being arrested at her home over the weekend.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein explained in a statement. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”
The Post noted that a federal official told NBC News that Winner had, in fact, sent the document to The Intercept. The document was sent in early May.
Now, two things: The lengthy story by The Intercept mentioned President Donald J. Trump exactly two times, and in neither instance did it provide any evidence at all that a) Russia was attempting to hack the election to favor the president; and b) that there was “collusion” between Team Trump and Russian intelligence. For all we know at this point, this “attack” was nothing more than business as usual for Russian intelligence, which has long attempted to interfere in U.S. elections, as the director of national intelligence’s office noted in January. Also, the CIA and NSA have the ability to hack into systems and make it look like a foreign state is responsible. Just something else to consider here.
Secondly, this first arrest is likely one of many more to come. We’ve been reporting now for weeks that the Trump administration was close to identifying, and firing, several people within the White House itself. As Lifezette noted last month, the Trump administration’s focus on finding leakers was transitioning from the intelligence community and Obama-era holdovers to the White House staff.
But clearly, the arrest of Winner, who worked for Pluribus International Corporation in Augusta, Ga., is part of the Trump administration’s overall effort to staunch leaks of highly sensitive information that not only damage our national security but have sought to undermine the president himself as he attempts to put his own foreign policy in place.
One other thing: If this entire episode does not convince states to return to paper balloting and keep their voting systems offline, nothing will.