Who is Reality Leigh Winner?
She’s a 25-year-old National Security Agency (NSA) contractor who was arrested for allegedly leaking a top secret report to news outlet The Intercept.
On Monday, she was charged after the FBI arrested her Saturday at her home in Augusta, Georgia. She faces up to 10 years in prison for the classified leak, according to CNN. She’s back in court on Thursday.
Winner was accused of leaking a report that showed Russian intelligence tried to hack U.S. voting systems before the election in November. The Intercept shared printed pages of the report, and the folds and creases in the documents gave away that they had been “printed and hand-carried out of a secured space.” From that, the agency saw six people had printed the report and then tracked down the one person from the group who had emailed the news outlet.
Her motivations for leaking are not yet known. But she left a lot information about herself online. She was active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for years and shared her anti-Trump and other political sentiments on the platforms.
Active on social media
Winner, who uses the name Sara Winners on her Twitter account, had been active on the site up until the end of February. She often tweeted anti-Trump messages. She follows only 50 people on Twitter, including Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, and Anonymous.
A linguist and an athlete
The Texas native was an Air Force linguist who studied Farsi and other languages. According to the Department of Justice, she was a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation and had been assigned to a government agency facility in Georgia since Feb. 13. She had top secret clearance.
She last posted on her Facebook page a day before her arrest. She shared many videos of her working out, and posted often about CrossFit and lifting.
Her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, spoke to the Daily Beast Sunday and told the publication that Winner is “very passionate,” but her mother didn’t think she’d even been active in politics. The family didn’t know much about her new job as a government contractor.
Winners last Facebook post the day before her arrest showed some of that passion.
She strongly opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline and had posted about it often with anti-Trump hashtags.
While some were already calling Winner a traitor and worse, others have come out to support the whistleblower, like Julian Assange, the creator of WikiLeaks.