Who is Reality Winner? All we know about the American woman arrested leaking Russian hacking information

Ms Winner is also a yoga instructor and is fluent in Pashto, Farsi and Dari 

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The Independent US

Reality Winner is making headlines for being the first person the Trump administration has charged with leaking classified information. 

Who is she? 

Texas-raised Reality Winner, 25, is an intelligence contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, which provides services to the National Security Agency (NSA). She began working at the company’s location in Georgia starting in February and holds top secret clearance.

She has served as a linguist for the US Air Force and speaks Pashto, Farsi and Dari, her mother told CNN. Titus Nichols, her court-appointed attorney, also told CNN that “outside of work she works as a yoga instructor. She's just a normal person.” 

What did she leak?

The Justice Department has charged Ms Winner with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet. According to the agency, Ms Winner has admitted to FBI agents that she intentionally did this, knowing that the information was classified.

In the US, an individual facing criminal charges is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at later criminal proceedings.

While court documents filed in the case do not identify the outlet or describe the type of information leaked, the details of the case appear to correspond to information included in an Intercept article.

The article uses an NSA intelligence report to detail Russian attempts to hack US voting systems before the 2016 presidential election. The Intercept said the documents were submitted anonymously.

Why did she leak it?

Not sure. Posting under the pseudonym Sara Winners, Ms Winner often criticised Donald Trump on social media. She tweeted “Well. People suck. #ElectionNight” after it became apparent that Mr Trump would win the presidential race, as well as rebuked him for his order in January restricting travel from six predominantly Muslim countries. The account also “liked” tweets by Edward Snowden and WikiLeaks. 

“She's never ever given me any kind of indication that she was in favour of that at all,” her mother said regarding Ms Winner’s stance on leaking. “I don't know how to explain it.”

What happened to her?

The FBI arrested Ms Winner on 3 June at her home in Georgia.

What punishment is she facing?

Ms Winner could face up to 10 years in prison if she is convicted of leaking the confidential information.

 

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