Brave whistleblower Reality Winner, the 25-year-old government contractor who is accused of using her top secret security clearance to leak classified information, is potentially facing up to 10 years in jail. This is someone who put her own freedom at risk so that she could tell the American people something important that we weren’t supposed to know. And that information is startling…..
The top-secret NSA report shows new and damning information about Russia’s cyber attacks on the United States in the lead-up to the 2016 election. It turns out they were more widespread than we’ve been led to believe.
Russian Military Intelligence executed a cyber attack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report. The report, dated May 5, 2017, is the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light.
The report mainly establishes that the Russians were making an effort to gain access to voter-registration database information —that’s a big deal given the impact of voter-registration information on access to the ballot. But it also opened up the possibility the hackers got access to vote-counting machinery as well, particularly in states with electronic voting machines (which happen to include Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, two of the three states that decided the presidential election).
More important, the report could change the scope of the various investigations by Congress, the FBI, and special prosecutor Bob Mueller of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections and possible Trump campaign collusion with that interference. Up until now, we’ve mostly been focused on Russian (or Trump’s/Russian) efforts to change the external political dynamics of the election, such as WikiLeaks’ slow-drip release of Podesta emails, and social media promotion of pro-Trump and anti-Clinton memes. Now we’re talking about direct interference with the integrity of the election that made Trump president. And if that is even close to being established, then the possibility of Trump campaign collusion in such interference takes on a whole new dimension of horrific malfeasance, and potential “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
If nothing else, the leaked NSA report will amp up media interest in NSA director Mike Rogers’s appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, the day before former FBI Director James Comey’s much-discussed testimony to the same committee. There has already been speculation that Rogers will drop a bombshell; the leaked report could be a preview.
The implications of this are somewhat staggering. For one thing, it raises questions about how successful this attack was. We know they compromised many employees’ information, but to what end? Where did it lead? It also raises, even more, questions about Donald Trump’s treatment of Russia during and after the campaign. If our intelligence community is finding out we were electronically attacked by a foreign adversary, why is Donald Trump buddying around with Kislyak and Lavrov?
Even worse is the possibility that Russia, even if just by hacking and changing local election boxes in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin (by less than the population of Humboldt County), may have elected Trump!
Our opinions pieced together with various sources on the internet – Intercept, Daily Intelligenceer, The Guardian etc.