Feds charge NSA contractor for leaking Top Secret report about Russia hacking election

Russian military intelligence hackers, believed to be working within the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), tried to break into VR Systems, a company that sells voting registration equipment which was used in the 2016 election. That’s what the NSA determined, according to a classified intelligence report which was leaked to The Intercept.

An hour after The Intercept published the NSA document, the Justice Department announced charges against Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old intelligence contractor working for Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia. She had only been working as a Pluribus contractor since Feb. 13. Winner, accused of “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet,” has been charged with Espionage Act.

The leaked NSA document revealed that Russia attempted to interfere with the US election more than we previously knew. The “Top Secret” document states, “Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple US state or local electoral boards.”

According to The Intercept, the NSA is certain that GRU hackers “executed cyber espionage operations against” staff at VR Systems, “evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.”

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