Federal Contractor Charged With Leaking Classified Documents, Reportedly to The Intercept

The National Security Agency document - which the site said was provided anonymously - is dated May 5, 2017 and details claims Russian military intelligence executed a cyber-attack on at least one US voting software supplier and send phishing emails to elected officials in the days leading up to the November presidential election.

Russian government hackers within the country's intelligence service masqueraded as an e-voting vendor in an email to trick local USA government employees into opening documents that were "invisibly tainted with potent malware", The Intercept reports.

A 25-year-old U.S. government contractor has been charged with mishandling classified information, after authorities say she gave a top-secret National Security Agency document to a news organisation. ("The NSA analysis does not draw conclusions about whether the interference had any effect on the election's outcome and concedes that much remains unknown about the extent of the hackers' accomplishments.") Incidentally, of the eight states that use VR Systems software, two are Florida and North Carolina - both crucial swing states a year ago won narrowly by Trump (FL by 1.2 points, NC by 3.6). Then, on October 27th, just 12 days before the election, they used information they gleaned from those accounts to launch a second spear-phishing attack, this time aimed at email addresses for more than 100 local government officials "involved in the management of voter registration systems".

The NSA did not respond to request for comment from Business Insider, but the agency confirmed the document's authenticity to The Intercept.

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The report indicates that Russian hacking may have penetrated further into USA voting systems than was previously understood.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has widely mocked questions when asked if Russia attempted to influence the election. The result is a troubling new turn in Russian hacking efforts, although there's no indication the group had access to voting totals or election results. The intelligence report, citing unspecified information the NSA obtained in April, suggests the government is now satisfied that Moscow was the culprit.

Authorities said she printed the classified document that was taken on May 9 and later mailed it to a news organization. The audit did not reveal that any of the other individuals had email contact with the news outlet. They successfully gained access to "elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards", according to the document.

Putin conceded, however, that there may have been hacking by Russians unconnected with the government. Prosecutors did not say which federal agency victor worked for, but FBI agent Justin Garrick said in an affidavit filed with the court that she had previously served in the Air Force and held a top-secret security clearance.

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"She has no criminal history; it's not as if she's a threat to anyone, " he said.

In affidavits filed with the court, Garrick of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said the government was notified of the leaked report by the news outlet that received it. Approximately a few days later, victor unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet. The six individuals had their computers audited, and it revealed that victor was the one who made contact.

Asked if victor had confessed, Nichols said, "If there is a confession, the government has not shown it to me".

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