Who Is Reality Winner? Facts, Details And Rumors About The Suspected NSA Leak

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This is what we know so far.

Now more than ever it is important for us to pay attention to events happening in our country and in the world. 

If you didn't vote for Donald Trump, it is easy to sit around a fume at every item that crops up in the news, but fuming doesn't get you anywhere.

In order to be a proactive citizen, you need to make sure that you pay attention to every move the government makes, and when you see injustice, it's important to speak up and let people know that a wrong is being committed. 

 

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But sometimes speaking up or speaking out can also be a crime, especially if you're a person working for the government with access to privileged documents. 

People in these positions are often put in the difficult position of adhering to the laws of government and compromising their ideals, or speaking out and facing serious consequences.

Famous instances of classified document release and leaking might bring to mind names like Chelsea Manning, who was recently released from prison after being sentenced for leaking nearly 3 million classified documents to Wikileaks, and Edward Snowden, who sought sanctuary in Russia after his release of classified NSA information that revealed just how much the U.S. was actually spying on its own citizens.

In the continuing investigation into Trump's potential collusion with Russia during the presidential election, a woman named Reality Leigh Winner is being accused of sharing intelligence with the media from her position in the NSA and has now been arrested for it.

Here's what you need to know about Leigh Winner's arrest and what she might have leaked to the press:

 

Who is Reality Winner? 

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Reality Leigh Winner is a 25-year-old woman and also a veteran of the Air Force.

Reality Winner is employed by Pluribus International Corporation, a defense and intelligence contractor for the U.S. government dealing with classified documents and information.

Although she was living in Atlanta, Georgia, when she was arrested, she was born and raised in Texas. The Guardian spoke to her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, who said that her daughter graduated from H.M. King High School in Kingsville, Texas, where she was a gifted student and athlete and she played varsity tennis.  

According to her mother, she joined the military shortly after graduating from high school. 

The Atlantic stated: "Winner served in the U.S. Air Force from January 2013 until February of this year (2017) when she began working with Pluribus where she had top-secret clearance. Task & Purpose, citing an Air Force source, reported Winner served as an airman first class with the 94th Intelligence Squadron at Fort Meade, Maryland, until earlier this year. Winner-Davis told the Guardian her daughter, who is fluent in Farsi, Dari, and Pashto, had been a linguist for the Air Force."

 

What did Reality Winner do?

Saturday, Winner was arrested by the FBI on charges of espionage.

The FBI said in their documents that Winner “...admitted intentionally identifying and printing the classified intelligence reporting from her office space, retaining it, and mailing it from Augusta, Georgia, to the News Outlet, which she knew was not authorized to receive or possess the documents.”

In layman's terms, Winner took classified information and sent it to a media source, despite knowing that she was not allowed to and the media source was not cleared to have the information.

Winner's arrest came only one hour after the Intercept published a story that alleged Russian government hackers targeted 122 local election officials just days before the presidential election. In the same post, the Intercept said that there was no evidence that the hackers had been successful. 

The FBI charged Winner under the espionage act, which means that if she is found guilty she could face up to 10 years in prison. 

What are Reality Winner's suspected motives?

It's really hard to say with any certainty why Winner might have wanted to leak this information, and it's sheer speculation until Winner makes a statement herself.

However, there are things we can assume based on the content of her social media postings — but that's all these are: assumptions until the truth is revealed. 

 

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Even Winner's own mother doesn't understand what could have motivated her daughter. “I never thought this would be something she would do,” Winner-Davis said. “I mean, she has expressed to me that she is not a fan of [President] Trump — but she’s not someone who would go and riot or picket."

On Twitter and other social media, she was deeply critical of Trump's administration, including their stances on environmental policy and the proposed travel ban.

This may have led to her desire to bring information to light that might connect Trump's presidential election to collusion with Russia — something that the FBI is currently investigating. Winner may have even believed that she was helping by providing this information after Trump fired previous FBI Director James Comey for investigating his ties to Russia and the FBI was forced to hire a special investigator.

That said, many people are opposed to Trump and his administration who have access to confidential materials, and they do not leak them. This means that Winner may have had underlying motives that have yet to surface, and we will keep you updated as new information comes to light.