TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – A government contractor from Georgia is facing criminal charges for allegedly giving a top-secret to a news website.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, was arrested in Augusta and faces charges under the Espionage Act for leaking classified information.
Winner worked as a federal contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and held a top security clearance. The Justice Dept. said Winner admitted removing a classified intelligence report and mailing it to a news outlet. The feds add that she also “had email contact” with the news outlet from her work computer.
Winner is in federal custody and will have a detention hearing on Thursday. Her stepfather told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution she served her nation with distinction as an Air Force for six years and is a patriot.
Just before she was charged, “The Intercept” posted leaked classified documents with the same date suggesting Russian intelligence tried to break into U.S. electronic voting systems.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly called for a crackdown on leaks on Twitter. This is the first time an alleged leaker has been charged since he’s been in the White House.
The leaked top-secret National Security Agency report said hackers from Russia’s military intelligence stole user credentials from a U.S. election software company in Florida. Then, just over a week before the election, used those credentials to send fake emails laced with malware to 122 local government officials likely “involved in the management of voter registration systems.”
The Kremlin has denied any interference and U.S. officials have said that Russian meddling did not affect the outcome of the election.