Homeland Security

Breaking: NSA Leaker 'Reality Winner' Arrested by FBI

Image via Facebook/Reality Winner

This just in from the FBI:

A criminal complaint was filed in the Southern District of Georgia today charging Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).

Winner was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday, June 3, and appeared in federal court in Augusta this afternoon.

The Smoking Gun has a picture of her:

Reality, it appears from her Facebook page, is a “Doctor Who” fan, likes cats, and follows pretty much every liberal and left-wing media outlet everywhere: Bernie Sanders, Bill Maher, Michael Moore, “The Daily Show,” Stephen Colbert, “The Late Show,” I Stand with Muslims, Muslims Everyday, Media Matters for America, Ellen DeGeneres, and Barack Obama.

Jon Swain of The Guardian reported that she’s a former Air Force linguist and speaks Pashto, Farsi, and Dari — all languages spoken in Afghanistan. So it appears she got her security clearance through the Air Force as a linguist, and then, after separating, took a job that required clearance in mid-February of this year.

According to the DoJ, she was quite happy to talk about it:

Once investigative efforts identified Winner as a suspect, the FBI obtained and executed a search warrant at her residence. According to the complaint, Winner agreed to talk with agents during the execution of the warrant. 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.

Long-time readers who have been following the Hillary Clinton emails story may remember that she appeared to have violated 18 U.S.C. Section 793(f). Winner was arrested under 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e), which reads:

(e) Whoever having unauthorized possession of, access to, or control over any document, writing, code book, signal book, sketch, photograph, photographic negative, blueprint, plan, map, model, instrument, appliance, or note relating to the national defense, or information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation, willfully communicates, delivers, transmits or causes to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted, or attempts to communicate, deliver, transmit or cause to be communicated, delivered, or transmitted the same to any person not entitled to receive it, or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it;

She, having admitted it (per the press release), would seem to have no defense — it should be an open and shut case. The Intercept story is about how the Russians were spear-phishing a company that builds election software; this is very convenient as a way to explain the “Russians hacked the election” story. In fact, I’m already seeing people saying that it proves the Russians were actually hacking the election machines — which this NSA report does not say. At least on first glance, it appears the target company builds software for tracking voter registration, not voting machines.

Honestly, I suspect she didn’t even want to keep it secret, and we’ll discover she has an expensive defense lawyer and is going to prepare a defense based on being a whistleblower.

What’s kind of amazing about this is that the Intercept story was published today. So the FBI was able to track her down and arrest her that quickly?

Something is up. Expect more dropping shoes.