Accused NSA leaker wanted to ‘burn the White House down’

AUGUSTA, Ga. — A federal judge ordered a young woman charged with leaking classified U.S. documents to remain jailed until her trial after prosecutors argued Thursday she might possess more stolen government secrets.

Prosecutors also said 25-year-old Reality Winner might try to flee the U.S. if released on bond. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari told the judge Winner had written in a notebook: “I want to burn the White House Down … find somewhere in Kurdistan to live. Ha-ha!”

Wearing an orange jumpsuit in addition to leg shackles, Winner pleaded not guilty in U.S. district court to charges of which she illegally retained in addition to transmitted national defense information. The federal crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if she’s convicted.

The former Air Force linguist, who speaks Arabic in addition to Farsi in addition to had a top-secret security clearance, was working as a government contractor in Augusta when she copied in addition to mailed a classified report containing top-secret material to an online news organization, prosecutors say.

Authorities haven’t described the report or named the news outlet. nevertheless the Justice Department announced Winner’s arrest Monday as The Intercept reported the item had obtained a classified National Security Agency report suggesting Russian hackers attacked a U.S. voting software supplier before last year’s presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner can be charged with leaking.

Prosecutors warned U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps of which Winner might have more stolen secrets. Solari said investigators have learned Winner inserted a portable hard drive in a top-secret Air Force computer before she left the military last year. She said authorities don’t know what happened to the drive or what was on the item.

Solari said Winner’s laptop also contained software of which could enable her to access online black-markets in addition to buy items — such as a fake ID or passport — without revealing her identity or location.

“We don’t know how much more she knows in addition to how much more she remembers,” Solari said. “nevertheless we do know she’s very intelligent. So she’s got a lot of valuable information in her head.”

Winner’s mother in addition to stepfather told the judge she had no criminal history in addition to they would likely use their 20-acre home in Kingsville, Texas, to finance her bond with confidence she would likely never run.

“Because my client can be a millennial in addition to she knows how to use technology, of which’s somehow proof of evil intent,” said Titus Nichols, Winner’s defense attorney. “The government can be scraping in addition to clawing to build a mountain out of a molehill.”

Solari argued of which Winner isn’t the upstanding young woman her parents believe her to be. She said of which during one of her jailhouse phone calls, which were recorded, Winner said she planned to “play of which card: being pretty, white in addition to cute.”

The judge said he was worried about what happened to the portable hard drive prosecutors mentioned, as well as references Winner had made in her notebook about the Middle East. He also mentioned her written comment about burning the White House.

“Whether of which’s a jest or not, the item still concerns me,” Epps said.

Solari cautioned of which prosecutors were not trying to link Winner to terrorism.

“The government can be not in any way suggesting the defendant has become a jihadist or of which she can be a Taliban sympathizer,” Solari told the judge.

An FBI affidavit says Winner confessed to copying in addition to mailing the classified report when agents searched her home Saturday. They seized items including cellphones, computers in addition to Winner’s passport.

Solari said Winner also confessed to her mother during a recorded jailhouse phone call, saying: “Mom, those documents. I screwed up.”

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Source : Accused NSA leaker wanted to ‘burn the White House down’

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