Alleged NSA leaker seeks to subpoena major cybersecurity companies, intel agencies

Credit: U.S. Army Cyber Command

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A 26-year old former NSA contractor accused of leaking classified documents is now looking to subpoena some of the largest cybersecurity firms in the industry as part of her legal defense against the government.

Reality Winner was arrested in June 2017 for allegedly removing a top-secret report on Russian hacking activity connected to the 2016 election from an NSA facility where she worked at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia, and sending it to The Intercept. 

Winner’s lawyers are also seeking to subpoena several state governments and U.S. intelligence agencies.

According to Politico, the requested subpoenas, filed Friday, target representatives of the states formally notified by the Department of Homeland Security last September that they were targeted by hackers the U.S. government says were acting on behalf of the Russian government.

In total, 21 states, five government agencies, and 11 cybersecurity firms — including TrendMicro, FireEye, ESET, CrowdStrike, Volexity, F-Secure Corporation, ThreatConnect, Secureworks and Fidelis Cybersecurity — were named in the subpoenas.

Winner’s justification for the subpoenas remains under seal and will undergo a classification review before being released to the public.

Winner has been charged with retaining and transmitting national defense information in violation of the Espionage Act. Her trial, set for Oct. 15, has been repeatedly delayed as the prosecution and defense tangle over classified information related to the case.

Prosecutors have not responded publicly to the subpoenas, but submitted a written statement to the court last month in which they argued that Winner’s requests would be too broad and that the subpoenas should be subject to judicial review prior to approval. 

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leaks, legal, National Security Agency (NSA), Reality Winner, The Intercept
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