Reality Winner charged with leaking information to The Intercept
Reality Winner, a 25-year-old Air Force veteran and federal contractor, was arrested and charged under the Espionage Act on June 3, 2017.
Winner is accused of sending journalists a top-secret NSA intelligence report, which showed that the NSA had collected intelligence suggesting that Russian military intelligence had tried to gain access to states’ electronic voting systems in 2016. The Intercept published a partially-redacted version of the report on June 5, 2017.
On June 8, Winner was arraigned on one count of violating the the Espionage Act, a century-old law that criminalizes the disclosure of national defense information. Winner pleaded not guilty.
She was denied bail and is currently being held in jail pending trial.
The Intercept has said that the NSA report it published was mailed to it anonymously, so it does not technically know whether Winner was its source. First Look Media, parent company of The Intercept, has pledged to support Winner’s legal defense through its Press Freedom Defense Fund.
Winner is the first person to be prosecuted under the Espionage Act since Trump took office. During the Obama administration, the Department of Justice prosecuted eight people under the Espionage Act for sharing classified information with journalists.
The Intercept reports that Winner’s trial, originally scheduled for October 2017, has been delayed until March 2018, to give her defense attorneys enough time to receive security clearances and review classified information relevant to the case.
In a written statement, Winner said that the armed FBI agents who raided her house on June 3 never told her that she had the right to remain silent before interviewing her and eliciting an alleged confession. Winner’s attorneys are arguing that her confession should not be admissible evidence at trial if the FBI agents did not inform of her constitutional rights before interrogating her.
The Intercept reports that a federal judge denied Winner’s second request for bail, ruling that she remained a dangerous flight risk.