According to the FBI affidavit, 25-year-old government contractor Reality Winner, is accused of leaking top secret national security agency intelligence on Russia’s alleged election interference.
At her home in Augusta, Georgia, Winner’s parents emphasized her good qualities.
“She served with distinction. No disciplinary actions. She was well thought of by her commander.”
“I want her to be treated fair. I want her to be safe.”
Winner worked as a contractor for Pluribus International Corporation. Her social media posts suggest the 25-year-olld is a supporter of Bernie Sanders and part of the #ResistTrump movement.
After promising to aggressively pursue leakers, the White House spokesman would not be drawn on the Winner case.
“While I don’t want to comment on any specific case or allegation, I think it is important to note that any disclosure of classified or sensitive information can clearly threaten our national security,” Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.
Court documents allege that Winner printed out the NSA report and hand-carried it out of a secure facility. An internal government audit found that only six individuals printed the report, and Winner was the only one in the group to make email contact with the Intercept website which later published the NSA document.
“You cannot unilaterally, as a 25-year-old, decide it’s in the best interest of the United States of America to release that information because you think so,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz said.
“This person has to pay a price, and everyone else that has access to this information is going to pay a price. So, I think prosecution is in order,” Sen. Joe Manchin said.
Based on new data, the NSA document says Russian military intelligence was behind an August 2016 cyberattack on a voting software supplier and a follow-up hack days before the election.
At a congressional hearing with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a senior Democrat said the NSA report shows Russia wanted more than stolen emails.
“We now have in the public domain verified information that the Russians made an aggressive attempt to access not only a vendor of voter software in this country, but also a number of states,” Sen. Claire McCaskill said.
In a statement, the ACLU said sources like Winner come forward to inform the public, and officials leak information all the time with no consequences if the leaks serve the government’s agenda.