Cybersecurity expert weighs in on alleged leak

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Leaked information can have a ripple effect when it comes to national security.

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, is a six year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. Her mother tells CNN her daughter speaks Pashto, Farsi, and Dari Persian.

Winner was privileged with something bestowed to less than one percent of the population: top security clearance.

A former contractor and service member who worked at the NSA, but wanted to remain anonymous, tells NewsChannel 6 Winner must have been among the brightest of the bring to get this far in her career.

Another source, a former cyber operations specialist for the U.S. Cyber Command says Winner must have undergone intense vetting to obtain security clearance.

“So for these individuals, they have actually gone through a counterintelligence and terrorism polygraph that is going to look at several factors and ask them under a lie detector even, how loyal are they to the United States, how do they feel about the United States current objective missions, and various things related to testing one’s level of patriotism and loyalties to their nation,” he said. The source requested his name not be used, but he says he is a former cyber operations specialist for the U.S. Cyber Command.

But he says it may have been a log time since the government has checked up on her.

“There is presumed to be right now, according to the director of national intelligence, hundreds of individuals even still who have access to higher levels of information of classification than they probably should operationally have,” he said.

But what are the consequences of leaking the information in this top-secret NSA report? And why was it classified in the first place?

“One of the key reasons is the simple fact that it’s an ongoing investigation,” he said. “So this is currently ongoing living actual intelligence that our strategic leaders in our government are working with and levering to figure our something else that might have threatened the safety and the rights of our citizens.”

He says the alleged leak could potentially compromise U.S. Counterintelligence activities and the safety of those working in the intelligence community.

Reality Leigh Winner appears to have used the alias “Sara Winners” on Twitter, where she touted first amendment rights, retweeting Edward Snowden, She also expressed disdain for President Trump, tweeting “#notmypresident.”

“We have people in these important positions who are doing this for political reasons,” said U.S. Rep. Rick Allen (R-Ga.). “That’s very concerning.”

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