The parents of alleged NSA document leaker Reality Winner are concerned for their daughter's safety after her arrest by the U.S. federal government. Winner, 25, is a former NSA contractor working in Georgia who passed a single classified document about Russian interference in the U.S. election to news outlet The Intercept.
According to a June 6 conversation between Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, and NBC News, Winner was "terrified" when armed federal agents came to her home in Augusta, Georgia, on June 3.
"Her words to me was that she was scared she was going to be … they were going to make her disappear," Winner-Davis told NBC.
CBS News reports that Winner's mother and stepfather drove more than 1,100 miles from Texas to Georgia to lend their daughter support. They say their daughter is not a traitor. "I know that she's scared. She is cared that they won't let her out." Winner-Davis said.
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NBC News reports that Winner served six years in the U.S. Air Force and received a commendation medal. She specialized in translating languages spoken in Afghanistan and served as a cryptologic language analyst. Until her arrest, she was one of the 1.3 million people in America who have "top secret" security clearances.
Winner's stepfather, Gary Davis, told reporters that the charges she's facing are an insult to her service. "She's a patriot… She served her nation with distinguished honor. And that's who Reality Winner is. It's not the person that's being portrayed. She is a winner. She's our winner… She's my winner."
Winner was arrested within hours after The Intercept posted their article about the released classified document. According to an FBI affidavit, nearly invisible markings called microdots identified the document as having been printed from a secure server. Almost all printers manufactured recently leave microdots.
The Department of Justice is now attempting to prosecute Winner as the first criminal leak case under the Trump Administration. She is facing federal charges in Georgia for espionage and for potentially compromising the security of the country.
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Winner's court-appointed attorney, Titus Nichols, told CBS reporters that she planned to enter a not guilty plea at her hearing on June 8, and that he would try to get Winner released ahead of trial.
"We have the burden of showing that my client is not a risk of committing new offenses, that she's not a risk of fleeing." Nichols said.