I am pro-transparency and I believe that leaking can, in some instances, be in the best interests of the country as the country is not the government; it is the people. Too often our elected officials and the security services misunderstand that.
Leaks can undermine the faith in the government - the faith that they are employing trustworthy people who take their oaths seriously and have good judgement. BUT, that is only part of the story.
The truth is that people are leaking because they don't have faith in the government. These people are not malicious - they believe that the government will abuse its power and either misuse information or not act on it.
The former president and his team made the same call - they feared that the information that had been gathered would, under the Trump administration, be destroyed. They made a decision that drastic measures were required to protect this information and its value to the country.
Secrecy is important for these agencies and for the government. It is just a fact that it is in the best interests of the people for their governments to occasionally operate in secrecy and keep certain information hidden from the public.
The point is that the government and its agencies are granted this extraordinary power* solely so that they may use it for the good of the people. Patriots are supporters of their country; not its current government and when that government is acting in a way that benefits itself rather than its people, it is the responsibility of patriots to hold them to account.
All governments have leaks because all governments occasionally operate for their own benefit rather than that of the people. The more faith people have in their governments operating as they should, the fewer leaks you will see.
To the specific issue, I think this was a silly thing to leak at the moment and I think the person who did it was misguided in the extreme. That Russian interests tried to hack into these companies is not, in my opinion, an overly salient piece of information and not one that I can see benefiting the American people by its revelation. But the same measure, I don't believe withholding this information harms the American people.
If the NSA had strong evidence that the Russians succeeded in these attempts and were able to actually directly tamper with the voting process then that is VERY important but, still not enough on its own to warrant leaking the information to the media.
Because I believe the threshhold for such a drastic action should be the combination of important information that directly impacts the people AND the belief (or, better yet - evidence) that the government/agency is not acting on that information in the best interests of the people.
That this people risked her job and her freedom to release something like this is evidence of either incredible naivety or a deep distrust of the government.
I suspect both; I think that there is a pervasive feeling (not unwarranted) that our governments in general and the current US Trump Administration + GOP Congress in particular are dishonest as a matter of course and are fundamentally unable to be trusted to operate in the best interests of the people. I think that this is the base from which this leak springs and the naivety of the contractor produced some rather poor judgement. She saw something about Russia and the elections and that was it.
I feel sorry for this young lady but she works in a very serious environment with serious consequences and bad judgement is not a catch-all excuse.
* - And it is high time that these people appreciate that this power - to affect the lives of millions without needing to justify or even inform them - IS extraordinary. It should never be considered to be just a given that governments and their agencies aren't answerable to the people.