Russian Hackers Targeted US Voting Software Firm: Leaked Report


The Justice Department said Monday that federal authorities arrested a Georgia contractor named Reality Leigh Winner for allegedly "removing classified material" from a government "intelligence community agency" and mailing it to an "online news outlet".

Russian hackers attacked at least one US voting software supplier days before the 2016 presidential election, according to a classified NSA report leaked Monday, June 5, 2017, that suggests election-related hacking penetrated further into USA voting systems than previously known.

An accompanying Federal Bureau of Investigation affidavit said she has worked for Pluribus International a government facility in Georgia since February 13.

The document from the National Security Agency was published by the online news website "The Intercept".

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US intelligence already has determined that Russian Federation hacked into Democratic Party emails and leaked embarrassing information to WikiLeaks in an apparent effort to help Republican Donald Trump win the presidential election over Democrat Hillary Clinton. The Justice Department did not say what she was accused of leaking, nor did it identify the media outlet that received the information, but the DOJ announcement of the charges came within an hour of The Intercept posting a story about leaked documents on Russian hacking attempts in the 2016 presidential election.

Documents filed in federal court against victor in Georgia did not identify the news outlet or the document, although both the Intercept and the court papers say it was dated May 5.

Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, denied the allegations Tuesday, saying that the Kremlin did not see "any evidence to prove this information is true".

The Intercept said the NSA report had been submitted anonymously. An analysis of the file showed it was a scan of a copy that had been creased or folded, the affidavit said, "suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space".

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Victor spent several years in the Air Force before leaving last year, according to her social media accounts.

"She's just been caught in the middle of something bigger than her", argued her court-appointed attorney, Titus Nichols. "She is a very good person".

Investigators tracked down the suspect using information provided to the government by the news outlet that received and later published the leak. Authorities zeroed in on victor because she was the only one who had been in email contact with the news organization, according to the affidavit. "The U.S. Government Agency determined that six individuals printed this reporting". Garrick said investigators found victor had exchanged email with the news outlet using her work computer.

Russ Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.

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