Society

Rosie O'Donnell Donates $1,000 To Alleged NSA Leaker

| by Michael Howard

Comedian and TV personality Rosie O'Donnell confirmed that she donated $1,000 to a GoFundMe account set up to support Reality Winner, the government contractor accused of leaking classified information to an online publication.

Winner, 25, was taken into custody June 4 and is now being held in a jail in Augusta, Georgia, NBC News reports. On June 8 she pleaded not guilty to one count of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information." The judge denied her bail. She is accused of leaking the information to The Intercept.

According to assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari, the Air Force veteran and yoga instructor confessed to leaking classified NSA documents pertaining to the Russian government's alleged attempt to hack into voter registration software in the days leading up to the presidential election.

"She couldn't understand why this document hadn't been leaked already," Solari said, according to NBC News.

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The Intercept's report detailing the contents of the leak was published on June 5 under the title "Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election."

A GoFundMe campaign was set up for Winner on the same day.

"These funds will be able to assist with loss of wages, counseling from this traumatic experience and to be able to recover from this as Reality & her family rebuild their lives," the page reads. "Possible expenses for travel for the family and anything they might need to help them through these troubled times."

The campaign has raised more than $22,000 so far, with the largest donation coming from Rosie O'Donnell.

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O'Donnell donated $1,000 and confirmed her support for Winner on Twitter, according to The Washington Free Beacon.

"Brave young patriot," she wrote on June 7, linking to the GoFundMe page.

In another tweet posted the following day, O'Donnell wrote: "I support Reality Winner. Speak truth to power."

Titus Nichols, Winner's defense attorney, said the government's prosecutors are short on hard evidence and are "making a mountain out of a molehill."

"My client is innocent until proven guilty and we plan to enter a plea of not guilty," Nichols told NBC News on June 7.

Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, said her daughter "would not jeopardize anybody's safety," adding, "I have every reason to be proud of that girl."

Prosecutors allege that Winner had set up a number of "burner" email accounts and had done research on the internet to find out whether top secret computers could detect the presence of a flash drive.

She is accused of using a flash drive to steal the documents. That drive has not been recovered, and officials are trying to determine if Winner made off with any additional classified documents.

In a notebook that was found in her home, Winner allegedly wrote that she wanted to "burn down the White House."

Sources: NBC News, The Washington Free Beacon, GoFundMe, The Intercept / Photo credit: David Shankbone/Wikimedia Commons

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