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US government contractor arrested after NSA leak report

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor charged by the US Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram accountImage copyright

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Ms Winner was arrested on Saturday

A US government contractor has been arrested on suspicion of leaking top-secret information to a news outlet.

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, allegedly removed classified material from a government facility in the US state of Georgia.

The charges were announced shortly after the Intercept published a National Security Agency briefing about alleged Russian political meddling.

The Trump administration has been railing against leaks to the media.

Ms Winner was arrested on 3 June, the justice department said.

Putin: Patriotic Russians may be hacking

She is a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and had been employed at an NSA facility in Georgia since February, reports NBC News.

The accused faces a count of “gathering, transmitting or losing defence information”, according to the network.

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Ms Winner’s arrest is the latest possible leak involving an NSA contractor

The Intercept’s leaked document alleges Moscow’s military intelligence services attempted cyber-attacks on at least one US voting software supplier days before last November’s US presidential election.

It also accuses them of sending spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials.

However, there is no suggestion in the document that the hackers were successful.

The NSA file in question was apparently marked for declassification not before May 2042.

Russia: The scandal Trump can’t shake

American intelligence agencies have accused the Kremlin of trying to interfere in the election to ensure Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton.

Several congressional committees and the FBI are investigating the matter.

The president has repeatedly dismissed the story as “fake news”, arguing that the real scandal is how the allegations are being leaked to the media.

Ms Winner’s arrest is the latest possible leak involving an NSA contractor.

Edward Snowden disclosed secret documents about US surveillance programmes in 2013 to journalists, including The Intercept’s co-founding editor, Glenn Greenwald.

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