Winner’s Attorney speaks out on NSA leak

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor charged by the U.S. Department of Justice for sending classified material to a news organization, poses in a picture posted to her Instagram account. [Reality Winner / Instagram via Reuters]

AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP/WJBF) — A government contractor in Georgia has been charged in federal court with leaking a classified report containing top-secret National Security Agency intelligence to a news organization.

The Department of Justice announced Monday prosecutors charged 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner of Augusta with mailing copies of classified documents to a reporter.

Court records don’t identify the agency Winner worked for or the news organization. Court records say the documents were produced on or about May 5 and contained “Top Secret level” information.

An Augusta station spoke with Winner’s attorney Titus Nichols who says the entire case is absurd.

“The government is going to have to prove how that injured the United States and how that benefited Russia,” says Nichols. “At this stage what we have is the government putting a lot of time, effort and resources into prosecuting the low-level government employee versus looking at the bigger question, did Russia attempt to interfere in our elections?”

The website The Intercept reported Monday it obtained a top-secret National Security Agency report dated May 5 saying Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier days before last year’s presidential election.

Winner is currently being held at the federal jail in Lincoln County. Her bond hearing will be June 8 at 4 p.m. in a Richmond County Federal Courtroom.

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