Report suggests Russia hackers breached voting software firm

A 25-year-old contractor has been charged with leaking NSA files that claim Russian intelligence hacked at least one maker of voting software used in 2016's USA elections.

In the weeks leading up to last year's presidential election, Russian military intelligence launched a cyberattack on a US voting systems manufacturer, according to a classified National Security Agency report obtained by The Intercept.

Winner's affidavit, however, notes that an unidentified U.S. government agency-presumably the National Security Agency-was contacted by the news outlet on May 30 about an upcoming report, precluding any breaking news articles involving classified material prior to that date. The May 5 NSA report details a 2016 Russian military cyberattack on a USA voting software supplier. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed USA government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.

NBC News is reporting that the document victor is alleged to have leaked was published by The Intercept on Monday.

US intelligence agencies including the NSA and CIA have fallen victim to several thefts of classified material in recent years, often at the hands of a federal contractor.

According to the DOJ, Winner began working as a contractor at Pluribus International Corporation on February 13.

The hackers are believed to have then used data from that operation to create a new email account to launch a spear-phishing campaign targeting USA local government organizations, the document said. The NSA document does not directly identify the company in question, but contains references to the VR Systems, whose electronic voter database products are used in eight states.


USA intelligence officials tell CNN that the information has not changed the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which found: "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards".

The U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russian Federation conducted a broad influence campaign for the objective of undermining Hillary Clinton's candidacy and sowing doubts about the democratic process if she had won.

The DOJ release says that victor "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's attorney, Titus Thomas Nichols, declined to confirm whether she is accused of leaking the NSA report received by The Intercept.

Most significantly, as CNN reported at the time, and The Intercept also reports Monday based on the this document, that there is still no evidence any votes were affected by Russian hacking. "She is a very good person".

A sworn affidavit from FBI Special Agent Justin Garrick only said that the document contained "defense information". Federal authorities said she printed out a copy of the report and mailed it to The Intercept. Authorities said that they also determined that victor had e-mail contact with the news outlet. Garrick said investigators found victor had exchanged email with the news outlet using her work computer. In May, she allegedly used that clearance to print and removed a top secret intelligence report from the agency, which she then sent it to an unspecified news outlet.

"I think she's trying to be fearless for me", Billie Winner said.


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