Supporters set vigil for Reality Winner, accused NSA leaker awaiting trial, on anniversary of arrest
Relatives of Reality Winner, an Air Force veteran charged with leaking classified National Security Agency material, plan to hold a candlelight vigil Sunday exactly one year after she was taken into custody.
Supporters of Ms. Winner, 26, are expected to commemorate the anniversary of her June 3 arrest outside the Lincolnton County Jail in Lincolnton, Georgia, north of Augusta, where she remains in detention awaiting trial.
“I would invite everyone to come together to support my daughter Reality on this one-year anniversary of her arrest and jailing,” said Billie Winner Davis, Ms. Winner’s mother. “I do not want the world to forget her,” she said in a statement.
Ms. Winner was arrested at her home in Augusta within days of allegedly illegally leaking a classified intelligence document to an online news site, according to prosecutors.
Specifics concerning her case are redacted in court files, but subsequent reporting suggests Ms. Winner is suspected of being the source behind a document published by The Intercept last May detailing the role of Russian hackers during the 2016 U.S. presidential race.
An NSA contractor at the time of her arrest, Ms. Winner was charged with “removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet” in violation of federal espionage law. She pleaded not guilty, and her case is currently scheduled to begin Oct. 15, more than 16 months after being taken into custody.
Ms. Winner faces a maximum prison sentence of 10 years behind bars if convicted at trial. Prosecutors previously said they plan to seek a sentence of nine years if and when she’s found guilty.
She is the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration for leaking government material.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government,” Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, previously said of Ms. Winner’s case. “People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”
The top-secret document published by The Intercept described how the NSA believed that Russian state-sponsored hackers targeted a U.S. voting software supplier during the 2016 White House race, boosting claims that Moscow used cyberattacks and other means to meddle in the election.
Russia has denied interfering in the 2016 election.