US intelligence contractor heads to court on leak charges
A U.S. intelligence contractor charged with leaking a classified National Security Agency report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election is scheduled to appear at a detention hearing late Thursday afternoon in Augusta, Georgia.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, was indicted on Wednesday on charges that she removed classified material from a government facility in Georgia and handed it to a news agency while working as a contractor with Pluribus International Corp.
Winner’s attorney said she intends to plead not guilty, NBC News reported on Wednesday. She is the first person charged with leaking classified information to the media under the administration of President Donald Trump, who has vowed to crack down on leakers.
The charges were announced less than an hour after The Intercept published a secret document from the NSA that provided technical details on what it said were Russian attempts to hack election officials and a voting machine firm before the presidential election in November.
While the charges do not name the publication, two U.S. officials with knowledge of the case confirmed that Winner was charged with leaking the NSA report to The Intercept.
(Reporting by Jim Finkle in Toronto; Additional reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish)