The Department of Justice recently announced in a statement, the charges against a government contractor who allegedly leaked classified documents to the media. The statement also reveals how they eventually caught her.
“A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e),” it read.
“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,” the statement explained. “Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”
The media has since noted that the government only seems to have caught her after the said news outlet asked for a comment about their story, but in an apparent mistake provided the government with the original documents.
“The U.S. Government Agency examined the document shared by the News Outlet and determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space,” the complaint read.
Hence, because of the crease in the paper, officials knew they had to look for people who had printed the document and taken it out of the “secured space” physically. After discovering six individuals who had printed the document, they found that one had sent emails to the news outlet.
Winner was suspected to have leaked the highly classified document to The Intercept, which then ran a story based on the report, talking about how US intelligence authorities had monitored hundreds of hacking attempts before the 2016 presidential election.
“The top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to The Intercept and independently authenticated, analyzes intelligence very recently acquired by the agency about a months-long Russian intelligence cyber effort against elements of the U.S. election and voting infrastructure. 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.”
Since taking over the White House, the Trump administration has been a victim of constant leaks that have become a major problem for the president and his agenda.