President Trump has vowed to root out leakers—and this weekend he made good on that promise.
The Department of Justice has filed charges against a federal government contractor in Georgia for allegedly removing and mailing classified information to The Intercept.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, of Augusta, Ga., was arrested by the FBI in her home on Saturday after she allegedly printed and removed classified intelligence reporters containing “national defense information from an intelligence community agency,” according to the DOJ. She then “unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet.”
The stolen information likely provided the basis for an article printed on June 5 on The Intercept detailing Russian hacking efforts into U.S. voting software in the days leading up to the election.
After the government arrived at Winner’s residence with a warrant, she admitted printing the classified report and mailing it to The Intercept, the DOJ filing claims.
Law enforcement was able to identify Winner after The Intercept shared the report before it was publicly available, revealing foldings and creasing on the pages of the document that suggested it had been initially physically printed and carried out of the government building.
Days later, the government noticed that Winner was one of six individuals who printed the report. After searching her e-mail, it was revealed that she had been in contact with individuals at the online publication.
According to the government’s criminal complaint, Winner admitted to knowing that “the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.”
President Trump has repeatedly struggled with leaks during the early days of his administration. He has repeatedly expressed his frustration over the issue, vowing to crack down on dissent from inside the executive branch.