Reality Leigh Winner, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, was charged with leaking classified information to the media. It appears that Winner probably worked for the NSA based on her location, employer, and recent leaked NSA documents.
UPDATE: Winner’s Facebook was located and verified, and gives evidence of weird political obsessions and ties with Senator David Perdue. Read more…
Arrest and Charges
Winner was arrested by the FBI at her Augusta home on Saturday, June 3 and appeared in federal court today where she faces charges of removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).
The DOJ released a statement today about her charges.
The arrest of Reality Leigh Winner comes weeks after an unknown source leaked classified British intelligence about the Manchester Bombing including crime scene photographs to the New York Times. The New York Times then published the photos, causing outrage at the highest levels of U.K. government and damaging US-UK diplomatic relations.
Reality Leigh Winner May Have Worked For the NSA
Reality Leigh Winner began working for the Pluribus International Corporation on February 13th of this year and held a Top Secret clearance during that time. The DOJ press release states that she worked at a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia.
The complaint states that Reality Leigh Winner “printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it.”
The NSA operates in Georgia at a facility called NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, where Reality Leigh Winner lived. According to their website it is one of four NSA Cryptologic centers outside of the NSA Headquarters in Maryland.
As one of its three missions, NSA Georgia “routinely crafts new analysis, reporting, and dissemination approaches, focusing on time-sensitive production to support crisis situations and emerging threats.”
Pluribus International Corporation describes itself as a small business that “specializes in high-quality analytical, training, and operational support to Federal Defense, Intelligence, and Law Enforcement customers.”
RightWave Media was able to access one of their job posts for a “Course Manager” which requires Top Secret clearance and waives education requirements if the applicant has gone through an NSA Community Instructor course.
The Intercept Leak
An online publication called The Intercept bragged today in a report about a “top-secret National Security Agency document, which was provided anonymously to [them].”
They claim that their NSA report says that Russian military intelligence interfered with the 2016 U.S. election. The Russian’s interference activities ostensibly included a cyberattack on U.S. voting software supplier and sending spear-fishing e-mails to election officials.
It is not clear if The Intercept received the leak from Reality Leigh Winner or received a leak at all but the timing is certainly suspicious.