Augusta’s New Most Infamous Person is… Reality Winner, NSA Leaker Extraordinare

Linda Schrenko, Charles Walker, Tim Shelnut… Reality Winner? Yep, the newest in the line of Augusta’s most politically-infamous people is a previously-obscure 25 year-old government contractor.

President Trump should be resting a little easier today, as the National Security Agency was able to track down, arrest, and arraign Reality Leigh Winner, who leaked a highly-classified document to The Intercept last month. In a piece that published Monday, The Intercept included a redacted NSA document detailing Russian hacking efforts in the days leading up to the 2016 election. Though the outlet said the document was provided to them anonymously, it clearly wasn’t that anonymous.

The NSA learned on May 30 that the report had been leaked when a reporter at The Intercept reached out to an NSA contractor at another firm for comment. The second contractor alerted the agency, prompting the investigation. Winner was questioned at her home on June 3, where she admitted to leaking the document. According to court records, officials state that she understood the severity of her actions.

According to The Augusta Chronicle, Winner had a top security clearance at Pluribus International Corporation in Augusta, where she began working in February after serving six years as a linguist in the Air Force — including an assignment at Fort Meade, the home of the NSA. Officials zeroed in on her because she was one of only six individuals who had printed out the leaked document. The NSA knew it had been printed because when The Intercept gave a copy of the file to the NSA for review, officials noted creasing that indicated the file was folded for mailing. Further, the news outlet handed over the envelope used to mail the document, which was postmarked from Augusta. The investigation also uncovered that Winner had been in contact with The Intercept via her personal email on a separate occasion. On her work computer. In case you’re wondering, that’s a pretty good example of how not to leak a document and get away with it — at many steps in the process.

Winner faces a detention hearing on Thursday in Augusta. Her court-appointed lawyer, Titus T. Nichols of Bell & Brigham, believes she will be kept in custody pending trial. If convicted, Winner faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

The lines you’d expect have been drawn politically. The Daily Caller and other conservative outlets have painted Winner as a far-left, anti-American activist. Julian Assange has painted her as a hero. If nothing else, Congress’ biggest show horse, Jason Chaffetz, had the opportunity to go on the record in a national outlet and talk about something other than Trump and Russia, calling for her expedient imprisonment, so he’s probably got conflicting emotions about her. Reality (haha) suggests she was a left-leaning woman who was avidly opposed to the current president but still was willing to engage Republicans like Senator David Perdue on issues that mattered to her. It’s early, and more details will come out later, but all indications seem to be that Winner understood the probable outcome she faces, so the question remains as to why she would risk her career, her reputation, and her freedom for the contents of this report?

Fwiw, the hacking efforts detailed in the report included a cyber attack on a US voting software supplier and spear-fishing emails to over 100 elections officials, carried out by Russian military intelligence between August and October of last year. Further, for the first time, it is now apparent that Russia’s team of hackers has been specifically targeting the voter registration process, particularly devices that maintain and verify voter rolls.

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vee g
vee g

appreciate her sacrifice to get the truth out. whistleblowers rarely are given praises despite the benefits others reap from their sacrifices. it’s so many willfully ignorant loyalists to this administration that it may be in vain because at this point they just don’t care anymore that the antichrist is leading the country

Sarah Harper Scott
Sarah Harper Scott

Schrenko.

I’d like to think that Reality Winner isn’t really from Augusta and was just a contractor who happened to be stationed here.

FreeDuck
FreeDuck

Meh. I’m not sure what you can deduce about Ms. Winner at this point. What she leaked isn’t the kind of intelligence that could get someone killed or compromise national interests. I don’t even think you’d have to be left leaning to think that kind of information is important to be made public. What I hope comes out of this is a long overdue movement to improve security, reliability, accountability and therefore faith in our electronic voting systems. Some of us have been asking for a receipt printout for going on 20 years now. It’s not that hard.

Lea Thrace
Lea Thrace

What is the argument AGAINST receipt printouts?

davidmac
davidmac

That it can be used as “proof” to a bankroller that you voted the way they wanted you to, so they can buy your vote.

But receipts are a red herring – I want Optical Scan. Fill the bubble, complete the arrow, whatever. Just have a piece of paper that I wrote on that can be hand-audited to ensure the computer counted right.

drjay
drjay

grover tuten…he went to jail too, and robin williams

drjay
drjay

and what’s with her name…did her parents hope she’d be on survivor one day?

rickday
rickday

“’s early, and more details will come out later, but all indications seem to be that Winner understood the probable outcome she faces, so the question remains as to why she would risk her career, her reputation, and her freedom for the contents of this report?” If she pleads and gets the max, she will be out at age 36. She probably felt the leak was worth trading 10 years of freedom for her country. She literally sacrificed a decade of her existence for her country. She admitted it and she will accept and do her punishment in a minimum… Read more »

PM
PM

rickday – You have a low threshold for the definition of a patriot. I heard from several friends today and we unanimously feel sorry for the woman-child; but no reasonable person has been foolish enough to refer to the poor lost child as a patriot. Here is a news flash regarding foreign [Russian] intervention in our elections – been going on since the 1920’s. And it will go on in the next election, and the one after that, etc. Go back to the Jefferson administration and you will find foreign intervention from Spain and England in our elections. Foreign intervention… Read more »

Noway2016
Noway2016

Following PM’s point, how did you feel Rick, when you found out Hillary rigged the primary against Bernie?

Allyn
Allyn

Hmm. Patriot? Whistle Blower? NEITHER. Giving classified information to the media is not necessarily whistle blowing. In this case, she had no idea if the Special Investigator, Mueller, had the information. Nor did she know if the investigative committees in Congress had it. Whistle Blowing is when you provide information about the wrong doing of the holder of the information. Think Snowden and the NSA. Reality’s release was irresponsible and illegal and blew the whistle on who? The Russians? Perhaps if there was evidence of Trump’s involvement and it was being deep sixed, that might be a different story, but… Read more »

Benevolus
Benevolus

Deflector shields on full power!