Who is 25-year-old Reality Winner and why would she leak a top secret document to the press? She looks like the girl next door, but she’s admitted to leaking a document regarding the Russian hacking attempts of the voting systems in the 2016 presidential election. Winner did this using her NSA top secret security clearance for what now amounts to a charge under the act of espionage.
She served her country in the U.S. Airforce and then Reality Winner went on to be a government contractor still serving the nation. Today, this young woman is deemed the “face of espionage” by many of the news reports after she admitted to leaking a top secret document to the online news organization, The Intercept.
Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning reports that Reality Winner is the first person charged by the Justice Department coming out of the probe for those leaking information to the press, the probe that President Trump called for after government top secret information was making its way into the news. So just what did Reality Winner get her hands on and turn over to The Intercept, who in turn published the information that was deemed top secret?
While the document doesn’t say that any votes were changed in the 2016 presidential election, it “raises the possibility that Russian hacking may have breached at least some elements of the voting system, with disconcertingly uncertain results.” According to NBC News, the document describes how the Russian’s attempt occurred just a week before the presidential election.
The Intercept published this intelligence document online on May 5 of this year. It was just about an hour after that top secret document was published that the charges against Winner were already in the works by the Justice Department. The complaint filed by the Justice Department didn’t couple the charges with the article at the time, but according to NBC, the were able to confirm this with a federal official.
This document came out of the NSA in Georgia, which is a huge facility that Winner was assigned to at the time. NBC also reports that Winner is the confirmed leaker of the document as the complaint does state that she “admitted to printing the document and mailing it to the news outlet,” which is The Intercept.
The New York Times reports today that Winner was charged under the Espionage Act. They also report that her case is the first “criminal leak case” under President Trump.
Judge Napolitano is a frequent guest on Fox & Friends and on Tuesday morning’s show, he was astonished on how easily this was done by Winner. The judge said that while he doesn’t like how this information came to the public’s attention, he is happy to know the truth. Napolitano also said that if this leak is accurate, it actually helps Trump, as the leak shows he had no knowledge of this.
It is “mind boggling how easy this was to do,” Napolitano said. The co-anchors on the curvy couch at Fox & Friends described just how easy it was. Winner printed the top secret document, walked over to the printer, picked it up, folded it and off she went to mail the document to The Intercepter, where it was published.
Winner held top secret clearance with her job as a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, and she had been at the NSA facility since mid-February. Winner’s lawyer is Titus Thomas Nichols, and he told NBC News that Winner has no prior criminal history and that she is “looking forward to putting this behind her.”
The complaint said that Winner was one of only six people who had viewed the intelligence report since it was published internally by the government. They had found evidence that Winner had contact with The Intercept through email during their probe into this leak. It sounds as if it was very easy using deductive reasoning for the Justice Department to find their suspect.
The FBI went to Winner’s home on Saturday morning and arrested her, charging her of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.” NBC reports that this is a single charge against Winner.
According to Fox & Friends this morning, Winner speaks several Middle Eastern languages and was in the United States Airforce before taking a position at Pluribus International Corporation, which has locations throughout the nation. Winner’s mother, Billie Winner, told the press that her daughter really wasn’t very political, although her Facebook page describes her as a Bernie Sanders supporter. She also has several disparaging remarks on Facebook about President Trump.
The Heavy reports that Winner worked as a linguist, and she speaks the languages Pashto, Farsi, and Dari. While she worked for Pluribus, which is based out of Alexandria, Virgina, she was assigned to the NSA government agency in Georgia. Her top-secret security clearance gave her access to secret defense information, reports The Heavy.
Winner looks like the typical girl next door, as you can see by the social media posts in this article. She doesn’t have the face that most would equate to espionage. As Fox & Friends discussed, this brings concerns about the civilians who have the same type of top secret security clearance as Winner across the country coming from the different companies that do work for the government. She was able to copy the document and walk out of the facility with what sounds like much ease.
[Featured Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]