June 6, 2017 by

DOJ Charges Leaker of NSA Docs on Russia’s Election Hacking

 A top-secret NSA report published by The Intercept today points has seemingly confirmed long-held suspicions of Russian hacking groups playing a part in the 2016 US elections.

A report published in The Intercept today has detailed a Russian hacking effort  into United States’ voting infrastructure merely days before the 2016 elections.

“The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light,” read an excerpt from the report.

A phishing email campaign detailed by the report details a hacking group targeting seven different employees, at an unnamed voting system company.  The group, according to the NSA’s own assessment was “probably trying to obtain information associated with election-related hardware and software applications.”

Another campaign saw the group attempt test emails to two “absentee request” accounts belonging to the election office for American Samoa. The emails were not found to include any malicious links or attachments after they bounced.

Not long after The Intercept article was published, the Justice Department announced charges against 25-year-old NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner. She is being persecuted for ‘removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet,’ according to a statement by the DOJ.

Allegations from the criminal complaint read:

 She has been employed at the facility since on or about February 13, and has held a Top Secret clearance during that time. On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.

Winner, according to the DOJ release, admitted to intentionally spotting and printing the classified documents before removing it from her office space and mailing it to the Intercept. All while her residence was being searched by the FBI who executed a search warrant.

While there is no explicit evidence of the Russian group influencing voting totals or election results, it does indicate that the Russian government was pointedly working to compromise the US elections.

Image credit: Flickr.

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