Frank Gaffney: Promise of Fame Incentivizes Leakers like Reality Winner to Compromise National Security

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram account. (Reality Winner/Social Media via Reuters)
Reality Winner/Social Media via Reuters

Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney talked about leak-saturated politics with SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Breitbart News Daily on Wednesday, the eve of former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony to Congress.

Gaffney said the nature of Comey’s testimony was “anybody’s guess.”

“This is a very erratic fellow,” he observed. “I suspect there will be something for everybody in his testimony. You can bet the Democrats will be trying to promote the narrative. It may even be one that he helpfully trots out, some of his written notes following his meeting with Trump indicating that the president tried to discourage him from pursuing the Flynn affair, as it were, the Russians or whatever.”

“I think there probably will be other testimony that makes it clear that he hasn’t had much in the way of evidence to work with. It’s going to be a mixed bag, is my guess, but everyone will see in it what they want, and make of it as they can,” he predicted.

Kassam asked for Gaffney’s take on the case of the oddly named “Reality Winner,” an NSA contractor charged with stealing sensitive documents and giving them to The Intercept website for publication.

“I suspect she will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law because she’s yet another of these NSA contractors who, it appears, had access to way more information than they had any reason to – and hostility to the government of the United States,” Gaffney anticipated.

“You’d have thought it would have triggered – talk about red flags! – some kind of security review that would have ensured she had no access to such information at all,” he marveled.

“Here’s the problem: in the meantime, she has done what the Chelsea Mannings and Edward Snowdens have done in the past, which is compromise not simply sensitive information, but the means by which we obtain it,” Gaffney noted. “That’s very worrying.”

Gaffney agreed with Kassam that the prescribed maximum ten-year prison sentence for Winner’s offense was light.

“I think there are ways she can be charged with additional crimes, and perhaps, as a result, get some multiple of that,” he added. “The bigger problem is, we are not discouraging people who work for the United States government from engaging in this kind of compromise of our security and leaks. To the contrary, I think the celebrity they obtain – I don’t know, the sex change operations they get at government expense, for example – is seemingly incentivizing people to engage in this kind of practice, rather than preventing it.”

Breitbart News Daily airs on SiriusXM Patriot 125 weekdays from 6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern.

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