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NSA Contractor Charged Under Espionage Act in "Leak Case"

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NSA Contractor Charged in Leak Case

An employee of a National Security Agency contractor in Augusta, Ga., was charged under the Espionage Act (NYT) in the first criminal case the Trump administration has brought for leaking classified information to the press. A criminal complaint says Reality Leigh Winner, 25, unlawfully removed and transmitted "classified national defense information" (Justice.gov PDF) to an online news outlet and says Winner confessed her actions. News of her Saturday arrest came on the same day the online news outlet Intercept published a leaked NSA document charging that Russian military intelligence carried out an August 2016 cyberattack in an apparent effort to access voting technology. An unnamed U.S. official said the Intercept’s source was Winner (WSJ), whose mother said she had been a linguist for the Air Force (Guardian) before taking a job with the defense contractor Pluribus International Corporation.

ANALYSIS

"The Trump White House has been plagued by leaks on everything from the president’s private conversations with other world leaders to his reference to former FBI director James Comey as a 'nut job.' Trump has urged prosecutors to find and bring charges against those disclosing secret information, tweeting on May 16 that he has been 'asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community'," Patricia Hurtado writes for Bloomberg.

"Once rare, leak cases have become far more common in the 21st century, in part because of electronic trails that make it easier for investigators to determine who both had access to a leaked document and was in contact with a reporter. Depending on how they are counted, the Obama administration brought nine or 10 leak-related prosecutions—about twice as many as were brought under all previous presidencies combined," Charlie Savage writes for the New York Times.

"The hacking of senior Democrats’ email accounts during the campaign has been well chronicled, but vote-counting was thought to have been unaffected, despite concerted Russian efforts to penetrate it. 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, the Intercept reported on Monday," David Smith and Jon Swaine write for the Guardian.



Created: 06/06/2017
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