Barely an hour after a news organization published an article about a Top Secret National Security Agency document on Russian hacking, the Justice Department announced charges against a 25-year-old government contractor who a senior federal official says was the leaker of the document.
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Even as the document was ricocheting around Washington, the Justice Department announced that a criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.
The complaint did not link the charges with the story, but a senior federal official confirmed to NBC News that Winner is the accused leaker of the document published by the Intercept. The NSA has a large facility in Georgia.
The complaint says she admitted to printing out the document and mailing it to the news outlet.
It adds that the government found evidence that Winner "had email contact" with the news outlet, and that Winner was one of just six individuals who had viewed the intelligence reporting since the U.S. government published it internally.
She was arrested by the FBI at her home Saturday, according to a senior federal official. She faces a single charge of "gathering, transmitting or losing defense information."
Her attorney, Titus Thomas Nichols, told NBC News that his client is "looking forward to putting this behind her," and has no prior criminal history.