U.S. intelligence contractor heads to court on leak charges

Authorities haven't described the report or named the news outlet, but the Justice Department announced Winner's arrest Monday as The Intercept reported it had obtained a classified National Security Agency report suggesting Russian hackers attacked a us voting software supplier before last year's presidential election.

Winner, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, faces up to 10 years in prison for leaking classified information. At one point she wrote, "I want to burn the White House down. find somewhere in Kurdistan to live".

This information was presented by federal prosecutors Thursday in court during her detention hearing, and was based on evidence seized from her home by authorities last weekend.

Victor was charged in a federal grand jury indictment on Wednesday with a single count of willful retention and transmission of national defense information, a federal felony offense that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. Victor is accused of leaking a confidential NSA report on Russian interference in the US election to a media outlet; she has plead not guilty. They added that victor wrote in her notebook alleged plans to set the White House on fire, travel to Afghanistan and pledge her allegiance to the Taliban, WSB-TV reported. But the Justice Department announced Winner's arrest Monday as The Intercept reported it had obtained a classified National Security Agency report suggesting Russian hackers attacked a US voting software supplier before last year's presidential election. On about May 9, the indictment says, victor printed and removed a May 5 report on "intelligence activities by a foreign government directed at targets within the United States".

Victor was employed at a government facility in Georgia around February 13, and held Top Secret clearance during that time.

The parents of 25-year-old Reality Winner fear prosecutors will use the case to send a tough message from the Trump administration.

Solari said Winner's laptop also contained software that could enable her to access online black-markets and buy items - such as a fake ID or passport - without revealing her identity or location.

The information reportedly has not changed the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment, which found, "Russian intelligence obtained and maintained access to elements of multiple U.S. state or local electoral boards. So she's got a lot of valuable information in her head".

Judge Brian Epps denied bail, meaning victor will stay behind bars until trial, after Solari said some of the evidence was "downright frightening".

Winners' attorney, Titus Nichols, said in court that the woman's status as a technology savvy millennial is being used unfairly against her. "The government is scraping and clawing to build a mountain out of a molehill". She said that during one of her jailhouse phone calls, which were recorded, victor said she planned to "play that card: being pretty, white and cute".

Prosecutors said they also found the names of three known Islamic extremists in Winner's notebook, reported Reuters.

But ultimately, the judge denied the request, citing her notebook musings on the Middle East and comment about burning down the White House as unsettling.

"Whether that's a jest or not, it still concerns me", Epps said.

Solari warned that victor may possess more stolen secrets.

"The government is not in any way suggesting the defendant has become a jihadist or that she is a Taliban sympathizer", Solari told the judge. She is the first person charged with leaking classified information to the media under the administration of President Donald Trump, who has vowed to crack down on leakers. The prosecutor said victor also had photos of the leaked document on her phone.

  • Larry Hoffman