Reality Winner Tells FBI How She Smuggled Documents Out of NSA

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Posted: Sep 28, 2017 8:35 AM
Reality Winner Tells FBI How She Smuggled Documents Out of NSA

Reality Winner, the NSA contractor accused of leaking a classified document about Russian hacking in the 2016 election, told the FBI that she smuggled the report out of the high security intelligence facility.

"So how did you get it out of the office?" FBI agent Justin Garrick asked. 

"Folded it in half in my pantyhose," Winner replied. “Let’s be straight, there’s little to no security on documents. Nobody pats you down.”

The transcript — filed with a federal magistrate judge as part of the government's effort to keep Winner behind bars — also provides new details on Winner's explanation for why she allegedly took a copy of the document from the NSA facility at which she worked at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia.

Winner appears to say she believed the contents of the report — which described Russian spearfishing cyberattacks aimed at U.S. voter registration databases — should be in the public debate. (Politico)

“I saw the article and was like, I don’t understand why this isn’t a thing,” she said. “It made me very mad ... I guess I just didn’t care about myself at that point. ... Yeah, I screwed up royally."

She also acknowledged that she knew leaking the information would reveal intelligence sources and methods but that she figured those had already been made public from other leaks on the topic.

"Did you know that if that got out, that those sources and methods could be compromised?" Garrick asked.

"If they hadn't been already, then yes," Winner responded. "I figured that ... that it didn't matter anyway. Umm, honestly, uh, I just figured that whatever we were using had already been compromised, and that this report was just going to be like a — one drop in the bucket."

She added: "Seeing that [information] that had been contested back and forth in the public domain for so long, trying to figure out, like, with everything else that keeps getting released and keeps getting leaked — why isn't this getting — why isn't this out there? Why can't this be public?"

Politics also may have influenced her decision to release the documents to The Intercept, a left-leaning website. According to her social media accounts she was a supporter of Sen. Bernie Sanders and once called Trump a "piece of shit."

According to the transcript, she also told agents that she felt triggered by Fox News being on at the workplace. 

“I’ve filed formal complaints about them having Fox News on, you know?” she said. “Uh, just at least, for God’s sake, put Al Jazeera on, or a slideshow with people’s pets. I’ve tried everything to get that changed.”

At one point in the interview she also told agents she "wasn't trying to be a Snowden or anything," referring to the NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who stole 1.7 million classified documents and leaked roughly 200,000 to journalists.