RICHMOND COUNTY, Ga. — An Augusta woman charged with leaking classified information was indicted by a federal grand jury on one count, but prosecutors said they are likely to add more.
A federal magistrate judge held a detention hearing for Reality Winner Thursday afternoon.
The 25-year-old worked as a contractor for the government and is accused of giving classified information from the National Security Agency to an online news outlet.
She entered a not-guilty plea. The judge denied bond.
Prosecutors argued that the only thing Winner could do if she were released on bail is be recruited by the nation’s enemies.
Based on evidence seized from her home, federal prosecutors detailed Winner's alleged plans to burn down the White House and travel to Afghanistan, pledging her allegiance to the Taliban.
They said in recorded jailhouse calls, she told her mother how to play her side of the story in the media— as someone who was scared she’d disappear from an interrogation room in her Augusta home after Saturday’s raid.
Channel 2’s Nicole Carr was invited into Winner’s home by her parents to see the interrogation room.
“This is where they held her when they did the search of the house and this is where they interrogated her,” said Winner’s mother, Billie-Winner Davis.
Winner opted to stay in her house for questioning and confessed her intent to release damaging classified material to an online media outlet she “admired,” directing agents to find a screenshot of the mailing drop box for The Intercept on her cellphone. The material is described as top secret, detailing a Russian military intelligence attack on a U.S. voting supplier.
“She has no history of being a threat to this nation. Only an asset,” said Gary Davis, Winner’s stepfather.
Prosecutors said a phone call to her sister expressed Winner’s confidence in how to play the court during her bond hearing.
“I’m pretty, white and cute,” she allegedly told her sister. Prosecutors said Winner told her sister she would braid her hair and cry in court.
Prosecutors said she also instructed family members to transfer $30,000 into her mother’s account so she’d appear poor enough for a court-appointed attorney.
The government believes those who knew Winner best did not know an alternate side of her, who confessed to wanting to do harm to the nation through the release of classified documents.
“She offered up her life for this nation and to see her treated so vilely is an insult to every person who’s ever worn a uniform,” Davis said.
Prosecutors also said while Winner was serving in the Air Force she put a removable thumb drive into a top-secret computer. The government testified that it has no idea where that drive is now.
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