NSA contractor charged for leaking classified Russian document

The US Department of Justice has brought a charge against a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor for allegedly leaking a top secret Russian document to the media, reports said.

Reality Winner, the 25-year-old contractor, was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Saturday for allegedly printing out and mailing the document, which contained findings regarding Russian involvement in the November 2016 Presidential election, to the press.

The classified document was published by the media on Monday afternoon, an hour before the Department of Justice announced the single charge against Winner for "gathering, transmitting or losing defence information", Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday. If convicted, Winner may be imprisoned for up to 10 years.

The document, dated May 5, 2017, showed that intelligence collected by the NSA suggested a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against the US election and voting infrastructure."The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into US voting systems than was previously understood," according to The Intercept, the news outlet that published the story.

According to the classified report, Russian government hackers posed as e-voting vendors and tricked government employees into opening Microsoft Word documents invisibly tainted with potent malware that could give hackers full control over the infected computers.

The report stopped short of specifying the amount of damage Russia inflicted on the US voting system, only demonstrating that it obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.

Published Date: Jun 06, 2017 12:15 PM | Updated Date: Jun 06, 2017 12:15 PM