A 25-year-old federal contractor, ‘Reality Leigh Winner’ has been arrested and is facing charges she leaked a classified National Security Agency document to a news outlet in May 2017.
The charges against her came about an hour after the publication of a story based on an NSA document detailing Russian attempts to hack American voting systems in 2016.
According to the Washington Examiner, Winner’s arrest could signal the federal government is going to aggressively investigate and prosecute individuals who send classified intelligence to news organizations. Trump and other Republican allies in Washington have made pursuing leakers one of their top priorities, but Winner is the first to face charges for releasing classified intelligence.
Winner is facing charges that she removed classified material from a government facility and mailed it to a news outlet. She was arrested on Saturday and appeared on the charge Monday.
According to investigations, Winner was identified because she was one of six people who printed the document off of their computer. Of those six, she was the only one who had any email contact with a news outlet.
“Winner further acknowledged that she was aware of the contents of the intelligence reporting and that she knew the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation,” the affidavit stated. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a ‘need to know,’ and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified.”
Winner remains under investigation.