Michael Bastasch, DCNF
The 25-year-old government contractor who allegedly leaked top secret National Security Agency (NSA) documents to a news outlet didn’t do a very good job trying to cover her tracks.
Georgia-based contractor Reality Winner had accessed the documents before she emailed them to a news outlet in early May and even left behind email communications she had with a reporter.
The Department of Justice charged Winner, a contractor at Pluribus International Corporation who had a top secret security clearance, with removing classified documents from a federal facility and sending it to The Intercept, an online news outlet founded by journalist Glenn Greenwald.
Winner removed the documents and gave them to The Intercept in early May. The Intercept published the documents online Monday but notified the NSA on May 31. That gave NSA officials plenty of time to find the leaker.
The document obtained by The Intercept “appeared to be folded and/or creased,” according to a Justice Department legal complaint filed Monday, suggesting the documents were printed out and mailed to the news outlet.
Here's how the NSA identified The Intercept's source. Bad opsec! pic.twitter.com/OD6Pc7VJL5
— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) June 5, 2017
NSA officials quickly found that Winner and five others had access to the document. Emails between Winner and an Intercept contact gave the government the evidence it needed for a warrant to search her home.
On Saturday, Winner admitted to giving The Intercept top secret documents containing information on Russian efforts to hack a voting software company and send phishing emails to U.S. election officials.
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