Another Dose of Reality Winner: Deep State Leak Saga Grows Even Stranger

reality winner
Lincoln County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office via AP

Reality Leigh Winner, whose arrest for leaking NSA documents to left-wing website The Intercept shocked the country this week, was denied bail at a hearing in federal court Thursday.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported from the hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps in Augusta Georgia that Ms. Winner has been denied bail and will remain in custody as she awaits trial.

Federal prosecutors are reportedly considering additional charges based on information now coming to light in the investigation. Monday’s original complaint charged Winner with “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.” Now the Journal-Constitution reports authorities have uncovered  more incriminating evidence not noted in the affidavit supporting the first charge.

A reference in a jailhouse phone call to her parents made reference to plural “documents” suggesting to authorities Winner may be involved in other leaks of classified information. A U.S. Air Force veteran, Winner held a “Top Secret” security clearance necessary for her work as a contractor at an unnamed American intelligence community facility in Georgia. Prosecutors allege she told her mother she “screwed up” and also that she smuggled out a flash drive she attached to a top secret computer while serving in the Air Force as a “test run.”

A search of one the notebooks the FBI seized from Winner’s home is alleged to have turned up disturbing threats against the President of United States, continuing a long pattern of anti-Trump hysteria evident on her as-of-yet undeleted social media presence. Federal prosecutors told the Journal-Constitution that Winner had scrawled her wish to “burn the White House down” in the notebook. Statements like this have become common place on the #resistance left to which Ms. Winner pledged her allegiance on several occasions. Pop music legend Madonna, for example, expressed similar sentiments in front of “Women’s March” rally immediately following President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

These revelations only add to the increasingly difficult to explain behavior of the 25-year old Reality Winner, who once appeared to advocate the idea that “being white is terrorism.” On social media, she frequently posted inflammatory criticism of both President Trump and other administration officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions and appeared to whole-heartedly buy into the wildest of Russia-related conspiracy theories.

The document she allegedly leaked to The Intercept concerned the NSA’s internal analysis of Russian hackers’ attempts to gain access to American voting computer systems and election authorities. The FBI managed to zero in on her as the leaker when The Intercept contacted the unnamed U.S. intelligence agency from which the report was stolen asking for comment.

Not everyone, however, is concerned with the threat posed by alleged leakers like Ms. Winner. As of Friday morning a GoFundMe page in support of her is still active and has raised over $20,000 from sympathetic members of the public, including anti-Trump celebrity Rosie O’Donnell who called her a “brave young patriot.”

The initial charges against Reality Winner carry up to 10 years in federal prison. It remains to be seen if additional charges will be added based on this new information. For the moment, Winner is incarcerated at Lincoln County Jail near Augusta, Georgia, where she awaits trial in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.


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