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How FBI Easily Tracked Down Leaker of Top Secret Russia Document

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

Reality Leigh Winner, via Facebook.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal investigators often struggle to uncover national security leakers, but not in the case of Reality Leigh Winner, a government contractor arrested for allegedly sending a top-secret document to a news outlet.

The Washington Post reports that Winner was easy to track down – it took just a few days – because the 25-year-old Georgia woman left behind plenty of clues. 

An unidentified news outlet, presumably The Intercept, called federal officials for a comment on one of the “most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.” The news agency, seeking comment for a story, showed authorities a copy of the printed materials, according to an affidavit.

“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,” the affidavit reads, “suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.”

Authorities determined that six people had printed out the top-secret materials, and one of those was Winner, who worked for Pluribus International at a facility in Georgia.

A review of Winner’s work computer revealed that she had searched the agency’s classified system for the report and printed it on the same day. 

A reporter who received the documents said they were mailed in an envelope postmarked “Augusta, Georgia.”

“The Contractor informed the Reporter that he thought that the documents were fake,” the affidavit reads. “Nevertheless, the Contractor contacted the U.S. Government Agency on or about June 1, 2017, to inform the U.S. Government Agency of his interaction with the reporter.”

After Winner was arrested Saturday, the FBI said she admitted “removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the news outlet,” court documents read.


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