The US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] announced [statement] charges [complaint, PDF] against a federal contractor Monday for leaking classified material to a media source. Reality Leigh Winner operated under Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia at the time she is alleged to have removed material from a US government facility. Winner maintained top secret clearance since February. She is charged with gathering, transmitting or losing defense material. Winner is suspected of transmitting a report to The Intercept, an online news organization. The report at issue contained information alleging [AP report] a Russian cyber attack took place on a voting software supplier before the last US presidential election.
Possible hackings and data breaches have caused serious concern in recent years. In March the DOJ announced the indictments [JURIST report] of four Russian nationals in connection with hacking e-mail accounts. In January a group of 10 US Senators introduced legislation [JURIST report] aimed at implementing mandatory sanctions against Russia for its involvement in cyber hacking during the 2016 presidential election. In October 2015, at the request of US government officials, Chinese authorities arrested [JURIST report] individual hackers that allegedly misappropriated commercial secrets from US firms with the intention to sell proprietary information to state-owned entities within the the People’s Republic of China.