But the alleged leak of the National Security Agency document by one of the tens of thousands of private contractors to U.S. spy agencies, barely one month after the report was written, became the newest embarrassment for the United States intelligence community. "The American public deserves to know whether this president tried to interfere or tried to affect their views about this Russian Federation investigation, and one way or another, we're going to get to the bottom of this".
That being said, the USA election process is somewhat hack-proof, though certainly not by design or as the result of security enhancements.
The Intercept's reporting revealed new details behind the conclusion of US intelligence agencies that Russian intelligence services were seeking to infiltrate state voter registration systems, discredit Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and help then Republican candidate Donald Trump win the election.
The Intercept has faced heavy criticism from journalists for publishing images of the documents given to them by their NSA-connected source, which apparently helped lead authorities straight to victor. But in the affidavit, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it began investigating just last Thursday - after a news outlet contacted the government saying it had received the document anonymously and was working on a story.
"The actors likely used data obtained from that operation to. launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting United States local government organisations".
The report, which was published online by The Intercept, does not say whether the hacking had any effect on election results.
The Intercept contacted NSA and the national intelligence director's office about the document and both agencies asked that it not be published.
The NSA report said the Russian effort intended "to undermine public faith in the USA democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency".
Golden, her former yoga instructor, said he is convinced Winner's motives were pure. Her mother told the outlet that victor served as a linguist in the Air Force and speaks Pashto, Farsi and Dari. The online news site also worked closely with Snowden, the NSA contractor who revealed details of the Fort Meade-based agency's surveillence programs.
"She has no criminal history; it's not as if she's a threat to anyone", he said. A person familiar with the case said the charges stem from the document given to the Intercept. "All this craziness has happened all of a sudden".
"Approximately a few days later, victor unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet", the Justice Department continued, adding that victor admitted printing the document following her arrest. "For a government employee or a contractor who has access to classified information to share it intentionally with someone who doesn't have a security clearance, including a reporter, is a crime", he said.
Victor follows 50 Twitter accounts, among them Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, several with links to the group Anonymous and "alt" government agency accounts that became popular after President Donald Trump's inauguration, including AltFDA. Garrick said investigators found victor had exchanged email with the news outlet using her work computer.
"I just know she cares about her world and taking care of people and animals", Winner-Davis said.
Bynum reported from Savannah, Georgia.