Economy

Woman accused of leak ordered to remain jailed pending trial

The 25-year-old intelligence contractor accused of leaking a top secret report on Russian meddling in the USA election appears on social media as a smiling young nature lover with an abiding aversion to President Donald Trump.

Wearing an orange jumpsuit and leg shackles, victor pleaded not guilty in US district court to charges that she illegally retained and transmitted national defense information.

The FBI, in an affidavit, said she admitted to printing the classified report, taking it out of her office and mailing it to "the News Outlet", a reference to The Intercept.

Solari told the judge that victor had admitted to Federal Bureau of Investigation agents during her arrest that she sought out classified information.

Victor was held at the jail in Lincoln County, Georgia, where she had an 11-minute court appearance.

The federal contractor accused of leaking classified information to an online news outlet regarding a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack complained about the Trump administration and posted about leaks on what appears to be her public Twitter account.

Victor was taken into custody last week.

The document in question, which victor leaked to The Intercept, describes a Russian cyberattack on a US voting software supplier before last year's election and states that Russian intelligence services gained access to "multiple USA state or local electoral boards". She could also face a fine of up to $250,000.

Her mother has said victor was a specialist in Pashto, Farsi and Dari, languages spoken in Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan.

In recent months, President Trump has railed against leakers, promising to find them and prosecute them.

The Intercept said the NSA report was dated May 5 - the same date court records cited for the documents victor is accused of leaking. The criminal leak case against victor was a complete surprise to Davis. She said that during one of her jailhouse phone calls, which were recorded, victor said she planned to "play that card: being pretty, white and cute". Nichols said he hasn't seen anything that would lead him to believe victor is guilty of these charges.

Nichols, her attorney, said his client has "just been caught in the middle of something bigger than her".

Victor had top security clearance from her time serving in the Air Force for six years. "But we do know she's very intelligent".

"If she made this mistake", Davis said, referring to the leaked documents, "it needs to be balanced against what she has done in the past and how she has served this country".

She follows several "rogue" Twitter accounts created to look like they are run by federal agencies.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange also has weighed in, praising victor as a young woman "accused of courage in trying to help us know".



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