Leaker Arrested for Stealing NSA Report from Government Contracted Employer: My Open Letter to Her
In an article found on businessinsider.com, you can find the following quote,
While millennials seem like prime candidates for ad industry employees — they’re young, hip, and know how to Tweet/Pin/Instagram/Facebook the hell out of something — there’s one con to hiring a fresh batch of college graduates: their attitudes are the worst.
Truer words were never spoken.
The New York Post reported yesterday that
A 25-year-old Federal contractor was charged Monday with leaking a top secret NSA report — detailing how Russian military hackers targeted US voting systems just days before the election.
The highly classified intelligence document, published Monday by The Intercept, describes how Russia managed to infiltrate America’s voting infrastructure using a spear-phishing email scheme that targeted local government officials and employees.
It claims the calculated cyberattack may have even been more far-reaching and devious than previously thought.
The report is believed to be the most detailed US government account of Russia’s interference to date.
It was allegedly provided to the Intercept by 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, of Augusta, who appeared in court Monday after being arrested at her home over the weekend.
She was charged with removing and mailing classified materials to a news outlet, DOJ officials said.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein explained in a statement. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”
Winner, who works as contractor at Pluribus International Corporation, allegedly leaked the report in early May. A federal official told NBC News that she had, in fact, given it to the Intercept.
According to the document, it was the Russian military intelligence that conducted the cyber attacks last year.
Specifically, operatives from the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate, or GRU, are said to have targeted employees at a US election software company last August and then again in October.
While the name of the company is unclear, the report refers to an undisclosed product made by VR Systems — an electronic voting services and equipment vendor in Florida that has contracts in eight states, including New York.
The hackers were given a “cyber espionage mandate specifically directed at U.S. and foreign elections,” the report says.
On August 24, 2016, the group sent the employees fake emails, which were disguised as messages from Google. At least one of the workers was believed to be compromised.
In late October, the group established an “operational” Gmail account and posed as an employee from VR Systems — using previously obtained documents to launch another spear-phishing attack “targeting US local government organizations,” the report says.
According to the NSA, the hackers struck on either October 31 or November 1, sending spear-fishing emails to at least 122 different email addresses “associated with named local government organizations.”
They were also likely sent to officials “involved in the management of voter registration systems,” the report says.
The emails were said to have contained weaponized Microsoft Word attachments, which were set up to appear as unharmful documentation for the VR Systems’ EViD voter database — but were actually embedded with automated software commands that are secretly turned on as soon as the user opens the document.
The hack ultimately gave the Russians a back door and the ability to deliver any sort of malware or malicious software they wanted, the report says.
In addition, the NSA document also describes two other incidents of Russian meddling prior to the election.
In one, the hackers posed as a different voting company, referred to as “US company 2,” from which they sent phony test emails — offering “election-related products and services.”
The other operation was said to be conducted by the same group of operatives, and involved sending emails to addresses at the American Samoa Election Office, in the attempt to uncover more existing accounts before striking again.
It is ultimately unclear what came of the cyberattack, but the NSA report firmly states that the Russians had been intent on “mimicking a legitimate absentee ballot-related service provider.”
“It is unknown, whether the aforementioned spear-phishing deployment successfully compromised the intended victims, and what potential data could have been accessed by the cyber actor,” the NSA states of the result of the hacking.
While the government employees were only hit with simple login-stealing tactics, experts told the Intercept that such operations could prove even more dangerous than malware attacks in some instances.
VR Systems doesn’t sell voting machines, but holds contracts in New York, California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia — making it a prime target for those who want to disrupt the vote and cause chaos come election day.
“If someone has access to a state voter database, they can take malicious action by modifying or removing information,” Pamela Smith, president of election integrity watchdog Verified Voting, told the Intercept.
“This could affect whether someone has the ability to cast a regular ballot, or be required to cast a ‘provisional’ ballot — which would mean it has to be checked for their eligibility before it is included in the vote,” she said. “And it may mean the voter has to jump through certain hoops such as proving their information to the election official before their eligibility is affirmed.”
At least one US intelligence official admitted to the Intercept that the Russian hackers described in the NSA report could have disrupted the voting process on November 8, by specifically targeting locations where VR Systems’ products were in use. They cited the simple possibility of compromising an election poll book system, which could cause widespread damage in certain places.
“You could even do that preferentially in areas for voters that are likely to vote for a certain candidate and thereby have a partisan effect,” explained Alex Halderman, director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society.
In response to the report, VR Systems’ Chief Operating Officer Ben Martin told the Intercept: “Phishing and spear-phishing are not uncommon in our industry. We regularly participate in cyber alliances with state officials and members of the law enforcement community in an effort to address these types of threats. We have policies and procedures in effect to protect our customers and our company.”
Nowhere in the above article does is say that there is any proof whatsoever that the Russians actually interfered in the state and local elections held on November 8, 2016.
The word is out about this young Government Contractor that not only is she guilty of leaking information that was proprietary to the United States Government and her employer, but, she is also a diehard “Gimme Free Stuff and Give it to Me Now!” Bernie Supporter.
Her Mom, in a related article found on The Daily Beast doesn’t even seem to realize that what her precious little 25 year old did is wrong…
“I don’t know what they’re alleging,” she said, asking for specifics from the DOJ’s press release. “What do you know?” Winner-Davis said the allegations against her daughter were vague when they spoke Sunday.
“I don’t know who she might have sent it to,” she said. “[DOJ] were very vague. They said she mishandled and released documents that she shouldn’t have, but we had no idea what it pertained to or who.”
The most her daughter talked about was her pets.
“She called us yesterday night. She asked if we could help out with relocating her cat and dog,” Winner-Davis said.
Winner-Davis said her daughter never talked about her work, and her family did not know the specifics of her recently acquired job as a government contractor. Winner-Davis added that her daughter, while quiet about her job, was outspoken about her beliefs.
“She’s very passionate. Very passionate about her views and things like that, but she’s never to my knowledge been active in politics or any of that,” said Winner-Davis.
On Twitter, Reality Winner expressed frequent dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump’s policies and retweeted a joke about government leaks, as well as a tweet by whistleblower Edward Snowden.
In recent months, she frequently tweeted at Trump. “have you ever even met an Iranian?” she responded to Trump when he tweeted that immigrants coming from seven Muslim-majority countries were “SO DANGEROUS.”
She tweeted “#RESISTANCE” after the U.S. Department of Agriculture began blacking out public information. Immediately after Trump’s election, she took to Twitter to voice her disappointment. “I listened to you daily, and your podcast kept me sane,” she wrote at the FiveThirtyEight podcast on Nov. 9, 2016. “What the heck #betrayed #disillusioned.” She tweeted Sen. Bernie Sanders’ statement calling Trump racist and xenophobic immediately after.
On election night, she tweeted, “Well. People suck.”
Gosh. Do you get the feeling that this member of the “Young and Useless” envisions herself as some sort of “undercover operative”?
Well, I have some news for her and any other little brainwashed idiot that aspires to be like her:
This isn’t Facebook, Instagram, or high school, Buffy.
This is Reality, Reality.
You were working at an employer, who was in turn contracted to work for the United States Government. The papers you stole belong to OUR GOVERNMENT. By stealing them, you could have possibly endangered American Lives.
Now, I realize that the 2016 Presidential Election sent you scurrying to your “safe space”, i.e., your bedroom at Mom’s House with your Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry Posters on the wall. However, your continued involvement in the Liberal National Temper Tantrum being thrown by the Minority Political Ideology in this Sovereign Nation does not give you the right to commit treason by stealing government documents.
What you did, snookums, is called A CRIME.
It’s not an act of heroism. It is an act of petulance by a sore loser.
During World War II, the Allies (that’s the Good Guys, for the rest of you ungrateful undereducated whelps, like Little Miss Reality) came up with the warning, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” What they meant was the irresponsible dissemination of classified information could cost Allied Lives, including Americans, and damage the war effort in the fight against tyranny.
What you have done, Reality, is place politics before country, simply because you did not get your way on November 8th, 2016 and now, you cannot stand to see America on the Comeback Trail under President Trump.
Perhaps your Mom, who cannot seem to grasp that she raised a petulant little sore loser, should have disciplined you more.
Then, perhaps you could have avoided the humiliation of being arrested and the “unpleasantries” to follow, including a possible long prison sentence, which you so richly deserve.
Actions have consequences.
Until He Comes,