NSA leak suspect Winner remains in local custody in Georgia

Reality Winner's mother speaks (NBC News)

The 25-year-old contractor accused of leaking top secret documents remains jailed in Lincoln County, Ga.

Reality Winner was taken into custody in Augusta last weekend by federal marshals and charged with mailing classified information to a news organization -- the online news organization, The Intercept.

She's an Air Force veteran and works for a defense contractor.

Since mid-February, she had been assigned to an NSA facility near Augusta, working for Pluribus International Corp., a small business firm offering support, language translation and other services to various government agencies. The job gave her top secret clearance, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court.

The formal charges against her say she emailed a highly classified document to The Intercept, who in turn published the report, which claims Russian military intelligence hacked at least one unnamed voting software supplier in the US and attempted to gain access from more than 100 local election officials just before last November's election.

►RELATED | Accused NSA leaker Reality Leigh Winner left easily followed trail, FBI says

►MORE | Georgia woman arrested for allegedly leaking top secret document involving Russian hacking

►BACKGROUND | Who is Reality Leigh Winner? Accused leaker held top secret clearance

The document does not suggest the cyber attack changed votes, according to The Intercept report, but "raises the possibility that Russian hacking may have breached at least some elements of the voting system, with some disconcertingly uncertain results."

The Intercept said the information was obtained anonymously and independently authenticated. A senior federal official confirmed to NBC News that Winner is the accused leaker in the case, but a motive for her alleged involvement remains unknown.

Winner has been in local custody since her arrest and is expected to be taken into formal federal custody on Thursday.

NBC News contributed to this report.

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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