On Monday, the Justice Department announced that NSA contractor and former Air Force linguist Reality Leigh Winner had been charged with one count of “willful retention and transmission of national defense information.”
As I wrote in a previous article, 25-year-old Winner has been accused of leaking a classified NSA report that was used as the basis for an article about Russian hacking published by The Intercept.
Now, prosecutors are claiming that Winner once wrote in her journal that she wanted to “burn the White House down…find somewhere in Kurdistan to live.”
Winner, who speaks Pashto, Farsi, and Dari, appeared in a Georgia court on Thursday and pleaded not guilty. During the trial, Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Solari said Winner confessed to leaking the TOP SECRET report “to a particular news agency she admired” and that she “was underwhelmed with what WikiLeaks had to offer.”
Judge Brian Epps said Winner’s words about the White House were concerning, but does not believe she is a jihadist or terrorist sympathizer. He ordered Winner to remain in jail until her trial after prosecutors warned that she might try to leave the US if she was released on bond.
Federal agents are currently searching to discover whether Winner stole additional documents, including information located on a missing flash drive she is known to have inserted into a TOP SECRET computer.
As reported by WSB-TV, Winner called her mother from prison and told her to tell the media that her daughter was “scared.” She told her sister that she was planning to cry in court – to play the “pretty, white, cute” card.
Winner’s mother told the judge her daughter had no criminal history and would not try to flee the US. She even offered using her 20-acre home in Texas to finacne her daughter’s bond.
“She offered up her life for this nation and to see her treated so vilely is an insult to every person who’s ever worn a uniform,” argued Winner’s stepfather.
Winner’s defense attorney, Titus Nichols, complained that Winner is being punished for being a typical millennial. “Because my client is a millennial and she knows how to use technology, that’s somehow proof of evil intent. The government is scraping and clawing to build a mountain out of a molehill.”
Editor’s note: With a bit of luck she will spend a long time behind bars.