Reality Leigh Winner has been accused by the Department of Justice of leaking a Top Secret document to a news organization via the U.S. Mail.
Winner, 25, is a former member of the United States Air Force. She was on active duty and worked as a linguist. Shes speaks Pashto, Farsi and Dari, her mother Billie Winner-Davis told The Guardian’s Jon Swaine.
After exiting the Air Force, Winner worked for Pluribus International Corporation based out of Alexandria, Virginia.
At Pluribus, she was assigned to a government agency in Georgia, where she handled classified information. She was employed at the facility since February 13, and held a Top Secret security clearance, giving her access to the secret defense information.
In May, Winner allegedly obtained a classified document from her workplace that could be damaging to the United States’ defense and leaked it to the media. She allegedly made a copy of it and sent it to a news organization, believed to be The Intercept, NBC News reported, though it wasn’t identified in a federal criminal complaint.
The online news organization then published a report on the document June 5, the same day Winner was charged. But it allegedly contacted authorities on May 30 saying that they may have received on a classified information. The NSA document was dated May 5, the search warrant said.
Federal authorities launched an investigation into the matter and pinned those with access to the document down to six people. Of those six, Winner was the one that had direct email contact with the news organization from her personal GMail account.
The F.B.I. obtained a search warrant of Winner’s home and vehicle, saying they had probable cause to search her. The warrant was granted. They located evidence in the matter and brought winner into custody, where she admitted to removing the classified information from her office and mailing it. She also told agents in an interview that she was well-aware that she wasn’t allowed to share the intelligence report, but mailed it regardless.
Winner was arrested June 3 and taken into federal custody, where she awaits trial for the charge of “gathering, transmitting or losing defense information.” Her first hearing is scheduled for Thursday.
To read more information on the case, including the court documents, click here.
Here are photos that Winner has posted to her social media account prior to being arrested: