Woman charged with top-secret leak denied bond

Posted June 13, 2017

The intelligence contractor accused of leaking a highly classified National Security Agency report to the media has been indicted.

Winner's lawyer, Titus Nichols, told NPR's Martin Kaste that his client plans to plead not guilty to the one count of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information".

Court records say victor admitted to mailing a copy of the classified report to a news outlet when an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent interviewed her at her home Saturday. She is being held in the Lincoln County Jail in Georgia.

She was arrested by the FBI at her home June 3 and appeared in federal court Monday, according to a press release by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, is accused of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet", according to a federal complaint.

Some of the harshest criticism came from Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who called the case a "catastrophic failure of source protection" and argued that The Intercept "made egregious mistakes that doomed its source". "She is a victor", Gary said.

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The NSA document in question provided technical details on what it said were Russian attempts to hack election officials in the United States and a voting-machine firm before the presidential election in November, two US officials with knowledge of the case have confirmed to Reuters.

The charge carries a potential penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $250,000.

The government claims that victor downloaded and printed a top-secret NSA report, removed the printed version of the report from her employer's premises, and then mailed it to The Intercept, a highly regarded worldwide media outlet that exposes government wrongdoing.

She follows several "rogue" Twitter accounts created to look like they are run by federal agencies.

Victor worked for a US government contractor in Augusta.

If Winner's prosecution becomes "this big thing where we're not going to tolerate leakers", Winner-Davis said, her daughter won't receive a fair trial.

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Daniella Silva reported from NY. It was while working for the company at Fort Gordon that victor reportedly took a classified document May 9.

The bond hearing will take place at the Federal Courthouse in Downtown Augusta at 4 pm.

(AP Photo/Johnny Clark). In this June 6, 2017 image made from video, Billie Winner-Davis, left, the mother of Reality Leigh Winner, and her stepfather Gary Davis, speak to media about their daughter in east Augusta, Ga. "But we do know she's very intelligent".

The judge said he was anxious about what happened to the portable hard drive prosecutors mentioned, as well as references victor had made in her notebook about the Middle East.

Solari cautioned that prosecutors were not trying to link victor to terrorism.

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