A recent leak of classified NSA intelligence has prompted comparisons to Edward Snowden’s 2013 heroism, but the two circumstances are entirely different. While Snowden released information to alert the public about systemic criminal wrongdoing, Reality Leigh Winner did her leaking to satisfy a petty, partisan vendetta against President Donald Trump.
According to the crime report, Winner was contracted through the Pluribus International Corporation to work at a federal government facility in Georgia for several months. She used her Top Secret clearance to gain illicit access to privileged information, and then released it to The Intercept in an attempt to damage the President.
The leaked document reads as follows, “Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate actors … executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions. … The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to … launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.”
Winner’s social media posts indicate her die-hard progressive political leanings. She supported Bernie Sanders for President, and bemoaned President Donald Trump for his environmental policies. She supported trendy liberal causes such as the Women’s March and Stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline. She admitted culpability for her criminal acts to the FBI after being detained on June 3.
“Exceptional law enforcement efforts allowed us quickly to identify and arrest the defendant,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein said.
Although this news may give President Trump’s critics some additional ammunition to fuel their Russia conspiracy theories, this leaked document is far from a smoking gun. As apart of Wikileaks’ Vault 7 disclosures, it was revealed that the CIA could mask their hacking operations to give the impression that another country perpetrated the attack. This casts a shadow of doubt on any intelligence indicating Russia or any other foreign government in illegal hacking operations.