Over the weekend, the first domino fell in President Trump’s call for the arrest and prosecution of those who leak classified information to news agencies, as a 25-year-old federal contractor was arrested and is facing criminal charges.
Only an hour after The Intercept published a story about Russian hacking attempts on local voting officials in the 2016 election, Reality Leigh Winner was charged with removing classified intelligence from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, according to the Washington Examiner.
The Augusta, Georgia resident, who worked for Pluribus International Corporation from a GA government facility and held a top secret security clearance, appeared on the charge on Monday. Although it wasn’t yet clear from the Justice Department whether or not Winner leaked The Intercept’s source material, the May 5 date matches both the article and the affidavit describing the charges.
The Intercept used what it called a “highly classified intelligence report” they “obtained” to publish a story about Russian government hackers attempting to hack one U.S. voting software supplier and sending “spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials.”
The NSA source material makes no assumptions about whether or not the hacking efforts had any impact on the election.
The government began their investigation after receiving a copy of the document from The Intercept prior to publication.
“The U.S. Government Agency examined the document shared by the News Outlet and determined the pages of the intelligence reporting appeared to be folded and/or creased, suggesting they had been printed and hand-carried out of a secured space,” the affidavit read, according to the Examiner.
Of the six people to print the document from their computer, Winner was the only individual with email contact with a news outlet. From the affidavit:
“Winner further acknowledged that she was aware of the contents of the intelligence reporting and that she knew the contents of the reporting could be used to the injury of the United States and to the advantage of a foreign nation. During that conversation, Winner admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting at issue despite not having a ‘need to know,’ and with knowledge that the intelligence reporting was classified.”
During a Fox News appearance with Martha MacCallum, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz praised Winner’s arrest.
“When you have classified information, you cannot put that out there just because you think it would be a good idea,” Chaffetz said. “I want people in handcuffs and I want to see people behind bars. They have hundreds of thousands of people that have security clearances. There are supposed to be safeguards in there … But how many times do we have to see this story happen? They obviously don’t have the safeguards.”
Winner’s attorney told the Associated Press that his client “has no (criminal) history, so it’s not as if she has a pattern of having done anything like this before. She is a very good person. All this craziness has happened all of a sudden.”
Except Winner, as many on the right have suspected about a good percentage of so-called “deep state” operatives, clearly has an ax to grind.
— Josh Caplan (@joshdcaplan) June 5, 2017
Here’s a screenshot of her calling the president a “piece of sh*t” on Facebook.
Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of BizPac Review.
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