Published: Wed, June 14, 2017
World | By Paul Elliott

Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner to plead not guilty


The defense contractor accused of leaking a classified document to a media outlet will remain in jail.

Nichols told CBS News that he hopes to have victor released on Bond. Two days later, according to the indictment, she transmitted the document to an online news outlet. She is accused of leaking classified information, used as the basis for an article The Intercept published Monday, detailing a classified National Security Agency memo. Six employees had access to the document - a detailed account of how Russian military intelligence attacked a USA voting software company and spear-phished emails to more than 100 local election officials.

It's the same charge federal authorities used to arrest victor, a government contractor and former Air Force linguist, after FBI agents interviewed her and searched her Augusta home Saturday.

Winner, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information.

Winner, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with the word "Prisoner" on the back, spoke very little to Judge Brian Epps. They say they were able to narrow down the source using the unique "microdots" in the print-out, which identify the source printer, as well as the fact that victor had been in email contact with a news outlet, presumed to be The Intercept.

In one notation she wrote: "I want to burn the White House down", Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari told the judge. "They took her by surprise". There were no records of victor misbehaving or receiving disciplinary action when she served the military.

Also on Tuesday, NSA leaker Edward Snowden said the law allowing victor to be jailed was a threat to free press.

It will be hard for 25-year-old Reality Winner to get a fair trial if her case becomes "this big thing where we're not going to tolerate leakers", Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, told The Associated Press in an interview. The news outlet later said it did not know the identity of the person who gave it the document.

Victor grew up in Kingsville, Texas, and enlisted in the Air Force after graduating from high school. She was a linguist who speaks Pashto, Farsi and Dari - languages widely spoken in Iran and Afghanistan.

Victor had served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010 to 2016, leaving as a senior airman.

Winner also has a Twitter account under the alias Sara Winners - although she had a visible profile photo of herself - where she was repeatedly critical of President Trump.

Winner-Davis also denied she had any knowledge of her daughter's purported ties to alt-left groups.

Victor followed Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, several accounts with links to the hacking collective Anonymous, and several "alt" government agency accounts that became popular after Trump's inauguration.

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