Accused NSA leaker will get to see classified evidence in her espionage prosecution

Reality Winner

The Augusta National Security Agency leak suspect will get to review classified information federal prosecutors might use against her during her upcoming espionage trial.

 

In an supplemental protective order signed by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Brian K. Epps on Wednesday, both sides have agreed to the procedure which will allow Reality Leigh Winner to access evidence the prosecutors may use to prove she committed the crime of willful retention and transmission of national defense information.

Winner, 25, has pleaded not guilty. She has been held without bond since her June 3 arrest in which federal agents armed with a search warrant raided her Battle Row rental home. The search was brought on by a federal investigation launched after a National Security Agency official was approached by a reporter seeking to authenticate a national security document.

The prosecutors contend Winner accessed and copied a classified document through her job with the National Security Agency contractor Pluribus International Corp., at Fort Gordon. Winner, who served in the Air Force for six years as a linguist specializing in Middle Eastern languages, had a top security clearance.

In the order Epps signed this week, Winner will be held to the obligations of her security clearance. She can face further prosecution if she releases any classified information she may learn through the discovery materials in her case. She may see any document that is deemed unclassified or is specifically marked by federal prosecutors as “authorized for disclosure to Reality Leigh Winner.” That material is expected to include intelligence reporting, network audit logs of U.S. government agency, FBI interview reports including Winner’s own interview, and correspondence of contractors from May 24 to June 1.

Although federal prosecutors insist the document Winner allegedly leaked is classified, The Intercept online news media produced an in-depth report on a classified document it received this summer that is an analysis of the extent of Russia’s tampering efforts during the latest presidential election.

Winner’s trial is tentatively set to begin the week of Oct. 23.

Reach Sandy Hodson at sandy.hodson@augustachronicle.com or (706) 823-3226

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