Reality bites… and now she’s facing major jail time!
A 25-year-old government contractor for a U.S. intelligence agency has been arrested for sending classified material on Russian hacking in the U.S. election to an online news outlet last month!
On Monday, the Justice Department announced that Reality Leigh Winner (how could she NOT expose a government with a name like that?) is facing charges for “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.”
Winner, who worked with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, admitted to printing a classified report from the National Security Agency that describes two cyberattacks by Russian hackers in attempt to breach elements of the U.S. voting system.
The arrest came just before The Intercept published the alleged May 5 report from the NSA, which states that Russian military intelligence — specifically the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) — “executed cyber espionage operations against a named U.S. company in August 2016, evidently to obtain information on elections-related software and hardware solutions.”
The report, which does not conclude whether the attacks had any effect on the outcome of the election, details the compromised data was likely used to “launch a voter registration-themed spear-phishing campaign targeting U.S. local government organizations.”
In addition to printing the top-secret document, Winner confessed to mailing it to the news outlet, and “knew the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation,” per the criminal complaint.
Vivian Siu, The Intercept’s director of communications, said the report was submitted anonymously, telling CNN:
“As we reported in the story, the NSA document was provided to us anonymously. The Intercept has no knowledge of the identity of the source.”
Winner worked at the U.S. government agency facility since about Feb. 13, where she had top secret clearance. She now faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information.
According to mother Billie Winner, the 25-year-old isn’t particularly political, despite spending six years in the military, and is struggling with her actions. Billie told CNN:
“I think she’s trying to be brave for me. I don’t think she’s seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.”
Attorney Titus Nichols said a detention hearing will proceed on Thursday, where the judge will decide whether to release Winner on bond.
[Image via Facebook.]