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Reality Leigh Winner
Born 4 December 1991(1991-12-04) (age 30)[1]
Alice, Texas, U.S.[2]
Residence Augusta, Georgia
Nationality American
Citizenship United States
Education High school diploma
Alma mater H. M. King High School
Occupation Intelligence specialist
Years active 4 to 6 months according to cited sources.
Employer Pluribus International Corporation
Known for Allegedly leaking an intelligence report detailing Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections to The Intercept
Home town Kingsville, Texas[3]
Criminal charge 18 U.S. Code § 793(e) - Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information[4]
Criminal status Arrested
Military career
Allegiance United States
Service/branch United States Air Force
Years of service 2010–2016[5]
Rank E4 USAF SAM.svg Senior airman (E-4)[5]
Unit 94th Intelligence Squadron[5]
Awards Air Force Commendation Medal

Reality Leigh Winner (born December 4, 1991)[1] is a former American intelligence specialist, charged with "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet."[6] The subject material originated from the National Security Agency (NSA).[7] On June 3, 2017, while employed by military contractor Pluribus International Corporation, Winner was arrested on suspicion of leaking an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections to the news website The Intercept. The report suggested that Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier. Denied bond, Winner is being held at the Lincoln County Jail in Lincolnton, Georgia.[8][9]

Career[edit | edit source]

Winner served in the United States Air Force from 2010 to 2016, achieving the level of senior airman (an E-4 paygrade) with the 94th Intelligence Squadron.[5][10] She worked as a cryptologic linguist, and is fluent in Persian language and Dari, its dialect spoken in Afghanistan, as well as Pashto.[11] Winner was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal.[12][13]

Winner was hired by Pluribus International Corporation, a firm that provides contracting services to the National Security Agency.[14][15][16][17] On February 13, 2017, Pluribus assigned her to work at a military base in Augusta, Georgia.[18] Winner was employed by Pluribus at the time of her arrest for unauthorized disclosure of classified documents.[19]

Intelligence report leak and arrest[edit | edit source]

Winner was arrested on June 3, 2017. The U.S. Department of Justice announced news of her arrest on June 5,[20] shortly after The Intercept published an article describing Russian attempts to interfere with the 2016 presidential election, based on classified National Security Agency (NSA) documents leaked to them anonymously.[21]

The Intercept had contacted the NSA on May 30 and sent copies of the documents to the agency, in order to confirm their veracity. The NSA notified the FBI about the situation on June 1. The FBI realized the documents had been printed out because the PDF copies sent by The Intercept "appeared to be folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space".[22] Next, the NSA did an internal audit, confirming that Winner was one of six workers who had accessed the particular documents on its classified system, but only Winner's computer had been in contact with The Intercept using a personal email account. On June 3, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Winner's electronic devices, and she was arrested.[23]

In an 'Affidavit in Support of Application for Arrest Warrant' dated July 5, 2017, FBI special agent Justin C. Garrick stated:

On June 3, 2017, your affiant spoke to WINNER at her home in Augusta, Georgia. During that conversation, WINNER admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a "need to know," and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified. WINNER further admitted removing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the News Outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents.Template:Pb WINNER further acknowledged that she was aware of the contents of the intelligence reporting and that she knew the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation.Template:Pb CONCLUSIONTemplate:Pb Your affiant submits that the facts set forth in this affidavit establish probable cause to believe WINNER committed a violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e). Therefore, your affiant respectfully requests this Court issue an arrest warrant for WINNER.[24]

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange called on the public to support Winner,[25] offering a $10,000 reward for information about a reporter for The Intercept who had allegedly helped the U.S. government identify Winner as the leaker.[26] Assange wrote on Twitter that "Winner is no Clapper or Petraeus with 'elite immunity'. She's a young woman against the wall for talking to the press."[27]

On June 8, 2017, Winner pleaded not guilty to "willful retention and transmission of national defense information", and was denied bail. Prosecutors alleged she may have been involved in other leaks of classified information, and that she might try to flee the country if released.[23][28] The U.S. Justice Department lawyers also argued that her defense team should not be allowed to discuss any classified information, even if it was in news reports published by the media.[29][30]

On August 29, 2017, Winner's attorneys filed a motion in U.S. District Court to suppress her statements to law enforcement, arguing that Winner was not read her Miranda rights before being interrogated by the FBI on June 3.[31]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Application for a Search Warrant". June 3, 2017. https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3848398-Reality-Winner-Affidavit-for-Application-of.html#document/p2/a356449. Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  2. Brett, Jennifer; Edwards, Johnny (June 11, 2017). "Family and friends recall a life that somehow unraveled". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. https://www.pressreader.com/usa/the-atlanta-journal-constitution/20170611/281496456263152. Retrieved September 28, 2017. 
  3. Park, Madison (June 6, 2017). "What we know about Reality Winner". CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/06/politics/reality-winner-who-is-accused-leaker/index.html. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  4. "Who Is Reality Leigh Winner?". U.S. News & World Report. June 6, 2017. https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-06-06/reality-leigh-winner-details-emerge-on-suspected-nsa-leaker. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Singman, Brooke (June 6, 2017). "Who is Reality Winner? Accused leaker wanted to 'resist' Trump". Fox News. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/06/who-is-reality-winner-accused-leaker-wanted-to-resist-trump.html. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  6. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-government-contractor-georgia-charged-removing-and-mailing-classified-materials-news
  7. "Alleged leaker Reality Winner said she stuffed NSA report in her pantyhose". http://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/27/reality-winner-nsa-document-pantyhose-243236. 
  8. "Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner To Remain In Jail Pending Trial". http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/06/08/532063648/federal-grand-jury-indicts-accused-nsa-leaker-reality-winner. 
  9. "NSA leak case to paint two portraits of Reality Winner". http://www.ajc.com/news/local-govt--politics/nsa-leak-case-paint-two-portraits-reality-winner/XyCU0wNOJIw1sF8FANUs0N/. 
  10. Ortiz, Erik. "Who Is Reality Winner, NSA Contractor Accused in Top Secret Leak?". NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/who-reality-winner-nsa-contractor-accused-top-secret-leak-n768661. Retrieved 2017-06-08. 
  11. Bainbridge, William Sims (July 14, 2017). "Is Reality Winner "One of Us?"". The Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies. https://ieet.org/index.php/IEET2/more/Bainbridge20170714. Retrieved September 4, 2017. 
  12. Swaine, Jon (June 6, 2017). "Reality Winner: NSA contractor and environmentalist repulsed by Trump". The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jun/06/reality-winner-profile-nsa-trump-isis. Retrieved June 7, 2017. 
  13. Edwards, John (June 7, 2017). "Air Force honored Reality Winner for taking out enemy combatants". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. http://www.ajc.com/news/national/air-force-honored-reality-winner-for-taking-out-enemy-combatants/XoEbupm6P318Eun9ZGOo1O/. Retrieved June 8, 2017. 
  14. Charlie Savage, Scott Shane, Alan Blinder (2017-06-06). "Reality Winner, N.S.A. Contractor Accused of Leak, Was Undone by Trail of Clues". Washington DC: New York Times. p. A19. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/06/us/politics/reality-leigh-winner-leak-nsa.html. Retrieved 2017-06-07. "Ms. Winner's apparent Twitter feed, which used a pseudonym but had a photo of her and the same account name as her Instagram feed, makes clear her hostility toward Mr. Trump. That suggests a possible motive for leaking: highlighting Russian hacking of election-related targets, amplifying the narrative that Mr. Trump's victory is tainted." 
  15. Krishnadev Calamur (2017-06-06). "Who Is Reality Winner?". The Atlantic. https://www.theatlantic.com/news/archive/2017/06/who-is-reality-winner/529266/. Retrieved 2017-06-07. 
  16. Jeremy Redmon (2017-06-05). "Augusta contractor charged with mishandling top-secret U.S. materials". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on 2017-06-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20170606053247/http://www.myajc.com/news/breaking-news/augusta-contractor-charged-with-mishandling-top-secret-materials/VFqwwNvxTBe7w2BxkQaWNM/. Retrieved 2017-06-09. "The government announced Reality Leigh Winner's arrest Monday, about an hour after The Intercept reported that it had obtained a top-secret National Security Agency report about Russia's interference." 
  17. Danny Robbins; Christian Boone; J. Scott Trubey (2017-06-09). "Accused leaker's social posts not enough to shake top secret clearance". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on 2017-06-09. https://web.archive.org/web/20170609144318/http://www.myajc.com/news/national-govt--politics/accused-leaker-social-posts-not-enough-shake-top-secret-clearance/7524nEeXmwkzFLuYWBg35H/. "Winner's posts deriding President Trump likely wouldn't trigger interest from NSA personnel unless someone complained, experts said. And even if someone did, deciding whether to take some sort of action would be a difficult call, they said." 
  18. Park, Madison (June 6, 2017). "What we know about Reality Winner". KVIA. http://www.kvia.com/news/politics/what-we-know-about-reality-winner/529922707. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  19. J. Scott Trubey; Jennifer Peebles; Jeremy Redmon (2017-06-07). "Augusta at center of NSA leak investigation: City is major hub for intelligence community". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Archived from the original on 2017-06-09. https://web.archive.org/web/20170609144607/http://www.myajc.com/news/breaking-news/augusta-center-nsa-leak-investigation/0VWpzWLHe0FZmBKOC5DhgL/. "As Winner's story unfolded this week, reporters from major networks and newspapers across the country descended here. But few people attached to the military installation would talk on the record. The NSA declined to comment. Local government officials were also tight-lipped." 
  20. Silva, Daniella; Grosenick, Kip (June 7, 2017). "Alleged NSA leaker Reality Winner to plead not guilty". NBC News. http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/reality-winner-alleged-nsa-leaker-will-plead-not-guilty-lawyer-n769526. Retrieved June 8, 2017. 
  21. Cole, Matthew; Esposito, Richard; Biddle, Sam; Grim, Ryan (June 5, 2017). "Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election". The Intercept. First Look Media. https://theintercept.com/2017/06/05/top-secret-nsa-report-details-russian-hacking-effort-days-before-2016-election/. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  22. Gilbert, David (June 6, 2017). "NSA leak suspect was ratted out by an office printer". Vice News. https://news.vice.com/story/nsa-leak-suspect-was-ratted-out-by-an-office-printer. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  23. 23.0 23.1 Hurtado, Patricia (June 8, 2017). "Accused Leaker of Top-Secret U.S. Report Loses Bail Request". https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-08/accused-leaker-is-indicted-for-disclosing-classified-report. Retrieved June 12, 2017. 
  24. "Federal Government Contractor in Georgia Charged With Removing and Mailing Classified Materials to a News Outlet". US Justice Department. June 5, 2017. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-government-contractor-georgia-charged-removing-and-mailing-classified-materials-news. Retrieved September 3, 2017.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.}}
  25. ""Who is Reality Winner? Accused leaker wanted to 'resist' Trump". Fox News. June 6, 2017. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/06/06/who-is-reality-winner-accused-leaker-wanted-to-resist-trump.html. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  26. "WikiLeaks offers $10,000 to get Intercept reporter fired". The Hill. June 6, 2017. http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/336518-wikileaks-offering-10000-to-get-intercept-reporter-fired. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  27. "Wikileaks' Julian Assange tweets support for NSA 'whistleblower' Reality Leigh Winner". Daily Express. June 6, 2017. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/813857/Wikileaks-Julian-Assange-tweets-support-Reality-Leigh-Winner-Russia-leak-The-Intercept. Retrieved June 6, 2017. 
  28. Hartmann, Margaret (June 8, 2017). "Alleged Leaker Reality Winner Pleads Not Guilty, Is Denied Bail". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/06/alleged-leaker-reality-winner-pleads-not-guilty-denied-bail.html. Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  29. "Prosecutors in Reality Winner Case Push for News Reports to Be 'Classified'". http://www.law.com/sites/almstaff/2017/07/11/prosecutors-in-reality-winner-case-push-for-news-reports-to-be-classified. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  30. "Prosecutors seek order to silence defense on classified information in Reality Winner case". http://chronicle.augusta.com/news/2017-07-11/prosecutors-seek-order-silence-defense-classified-information-reality-winner-case. Retrieved August 7, 2017. 
  31. Greenwood, Max (September 1, 2017). "Accused leaker Reality Winner moves to suppress statements to police". The Hill. http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/348532-reality-winner-moves-to-suppress-confession. Retrieved September 1, 2017. 

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