The Department of Justice has charged 25-year-old Reality L. Winner with illegally removing top secret intelligence from a facility and sharing that intelligence with the news media, in relation to today’s story from The Intercept on an NSA document involving the Russian election hacks.
Reality (born Sara) Winner was working as a contractor for Pluribus International, and is accused of having given the document in question to The Intercept. The Intercept appears to have inadvertently gotten her caught, by contacting the government about the document, and showing them a picture of it.
The picture showed the document had a particular fold in the paper, which officials concluded were able to trace back to a specific printed version of the document. Investigation into the six people involved in printing that document revealed Winner had been in contact with The Intercept around the time it changed hands. The Intercept also reportedly shared the postmark on the document they got, revealing it was sent from Winner’s home.
There was report of a potential political motive for the leaks, as Winner is said to have called Trump a “piece of shit” on her Facebook page.
Officials were quick to denounce Winner as having “violated” the trust she was given in handling the document. The criminal complaint suggests she could be facing ten years in prison for the leak, and given the Trump Administration’s eagerness to show itself “cracking down” on such leaks, they will likely be pushing hard for the biggest sentence they can get.