Reality Winner was sentenced yesterday to five years and three months in prison for removing classified national defense material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.
Winner was arrested by the FBI at her home in Augusta, Georgia on June 3, 2017. The parties filed a plea agreement on June 21, in which Winner agreed to plead guilty to the one-count indictment charging her with unlawful retention and transmission of national defense information. The parties agreed that a sentence of imprisonment for 63 months followed by a three-year term of supervised release is the appropriate disposition of the case. The Court accepted the plea agreement at sentencing.
Winner was a contractor assigned to a unit of Fort Gordon in Georgia. She had been employed at the facility since on or about Feb. 13, 2017, and held a TOP SECRET//Sensitive Compartmented (SCI) clearance during that time. Prior to that position, Winner had served in the U.S. Air Force from 2010-2016 and held a TOP SECRET//SCI security clearance.
- Evidence presented at the change of plea hearing established that on or about May 9, 2017, Winner printed an intelligence report that was classified at the TOP SECRET//SCI level, and she removed it from the facility where she worked. Information may be classified as TOP SECRET if its unauthorized disclosure can reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.
- Later on May 9, Winner unlawfully transmitted a hard copy of the intelligence report to an online news outlet. The intelligence report revealed the sources and methods used to acquire the information contained in the report, which, if disclosed, would be harmful to the United States and valuable to our adversaries.
Indeed, Winner, in an interview with the FBI on June 3, 2017, admitted knowing at the time she stole and transmitted the intelligence report that it contained information about intelligence sources and methods, which information she knew was valuable to adversaries of the United States. Further, the information contained in the intelligence report had not been released to the public at the time Winner retained it and transmitted it to the online news outlet. Winner, who had received training regarding the proper handling, marking, transportation, and storage of classified information, knew that she was not permitted to remove the intelligence report from the facility where she worked, retain it, or transmit it to the news outlet.
The investigation of this case was conducted by the FBI.
See earlier article on this subject at: https://gtpac.org/2018/06/30/contractor-employee-pleads-guilty-to-espionage-in-connection-with-nsa-data-leak/