United States contractor charged in NSA document leak case

A top secret National Security Agency document shows that hackers from Russian military intelligence tried repeatedly to break into United States voting systems before last year's presidential election, The Intercept reported Monday.

The NSA document offers the clearest indication yet that Russian hackers sought to penetrate USA voting systems tied to voter registration in the days and weeks leading up to the election.

While the complaint doesn't definitively outline how much the alleged cyberattack affected the outcome of the USA election, the document is, in the words of The Intercept, "the most detailed United States. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light".

The dossier claims that on August 24, 2016, elements from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) began a spear-phishing attack against companies that supply U.S. election systems. A second official confirmed The Intercept document was authentic and did not dispute that the charges against victor were directly tied to it.

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.

As a federal contractor with Pluribus International, Winner had top-secret clearance and worked at an unnamed government facility in Georgia where an NSA facility is also located.

The hackers are believed to have then used data from that operation to create a new email account to launch a spear-phishing campaign targeting USA local government organizations, the document said.

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According to The Intercept, the document does not directly name the company but contains references to a product made by Florida-based VR Systems, whose products are used in eight states.

"Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple USA state or local electoral boards", the assessment said.

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. Twenty-five-year-old Reality Leigh Winner of Augusta, Georgia was arrested at her home on Saturday and officially charged during a court appearance on Monday, according to a statement from the Department of Justice. Officials requested that we not publish or report on the top secret document and declined to comment on it.

Winner's lawyer, Titus Nichols, said he had not yet seen any of the evidence in the case, so he could not discuss the specific accusations.

Winner's mother said that her daughter is "touch and go" in an interview with CNN on Monday. The report the contractor allegedly leaked is dated May 5, the same date as the document The Intercept posted online. Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept.

An internal audit revealed victor was one of six people who printed the document, but the only one who had email contact with the news outlet, according to the complaint.

Asked if victor had confessed, Nichols said, "If there is a confession, the government has not shown it to me".

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