back to article Reality Winner, liberty loser: NSA leaker faces 63 months in the cooler

Reality Winner – who leaked to the media a classified NSA file describing Russians fiddling with American election technology – has pled guilty to one count of espionage. The former NSA contractor had earlier pleaded not guilty in a US federal district court in Georgia, and had hoped a jury would clear her of wrongdoing. Now, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    'Complaints about them having Fox News on'

    America Inc is just one big 'outdoor' giant cult really.

    You're with us or against style of 'terrorism thinking'...

    One of the main reasons I tired of the place and left.

    1. JCitizen

      Re: 'Complaints about them having Fox News on'

      With people named "Reality Winner" and is an obvious nut case, I can see why - bon voyage!!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: 'Complaints about them having Fox News on'

        With people named "Reality Winner" a

        In all fairness, that one you have to lay at her parents' door.

    2. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge

      Re: 'Complaints about them having Fox News on'

      You never understood America or Americans.

      She should have gotten more time tossed at her.

      So too should have Clinton and her team.

      Sorry, that's not a political issue, but a criminal issue.

      What you're watching is western society in decay. Its sad really.

      I'm the guy who's buying farm land and going off the grid as much as possible, albeit with a really nice internet connection.

  2. Blockchain commentard Silver badge

    When she gets out and has the obligatory TV deal, will it be called The Reality Show?

    1. Scott Marshall


      I thought that America was into "surreality" TV shows.

      I didn't realise that it was actually "sue Reality".

    2. MiguelC Silver badge

      "The Reality Show"

      you surely have a Winner there!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    She's as guilty as a puppy sat next to a pile of poo.

    I hope this sentence sends the right message to those with security clearance.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Guilty?

      I hope this sentence sends the right message to those with security clearance.

      I doubt it. People do "espionage" for many reasons... fame, righting what they see as wrongs, money, and sometimes just for the kicks to see if they can get away with it, and blackmail because they have access and someone knows about something in their past. And then there's grudges as this case. People don't always think about consequences. If they did, there would be no drunk drivers, for example.

      1. Steve the Cynic

        Re: Guilty?

        blackmail because they have access and someone knows about something in their past

        The authorities will get you coming and going if that's the case, for the espionage and for falsifying your background on the clearance checks.

        The late Mrs Cynic was, before I met her, a teletype maintenance technician for the US Air Force, part of AFCC ("Air Force Communications Command", less formally known as "Alcohol First, Communications Considered"), and as such she had to have a Top Secret clearance with an SCI authorisation on top.

        She told me about the process of getting the clearance - it seems monstrously nosy and intrusive, but the aim of them gathering the information from the subject and then doing follow-up investigations is quite simple. All that stuff allows the authorities to know all those dark secrets, so that the cleared individual cannot be blackmailed about them. ("Get us this information, or we'll make sure the Air Force hears about Indiscretion X." "Doesn't worry me. They already know all about it, and Y, Z and W as well.")

        In general, the Air Force didn't care what those things were, so long as you told them what was what. I say "in general", but of course there were exceptions. One woman in the same group as the future Mrs Cynic had something really bad in her past, because the Air Force SPs took her away and handed her over to civilian police.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      'I hope this sentence sends the right message to those with security clearance'

      America is in the shit because of thinking like yours. The leak wasn't some headline grabbing wikileaks act. Whistleblower SEC awards exist for a reason. They work! We need the same for Govt!


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guilty?

      hope this sentence sends the right message to those with security clearance.

      So do I. But on the basis that the message is "pimp whatever you feel the need to, but never, on any account send anything to the "The Intercept" because they're a bunch of clueless fuckwits who'll get you caught".

    4. LucreLout Silver badge

      Re: Guilty?

      She's as guilty as a puppy sat next to a pile of poo.

      LOL!!! Lovely description.

      Given her admission in court that she did in fact smuggle and circulate the document in question, her guilt is now beyond reasonable doubt. The bit I struggle with is the implication in the article that she hoped to be cleared by the courts. How?? On what possible basis? There must be some facts or evidence that have not yet been released, or she is in fact bat shit crazy. Raising grievances to change the telly channel does seem a little.... odd, but I'm willing to stick with the - we've not got all the facts option for now.

      The unwarranted stupidity of the Intercept would, in any sane world, be considered criminally stupid. That they couldn't simply retype the document before sending it lock stock to the very agency whence it came is apalling. They care so little for the safety of their source that they willigly expose them to years behind bars in order to verify that they have a story. Really? It's not like the dots thing is new knowledge - deforming typewriter characters in some unique way was in use by various government agencies long before didigtal printers became common.

      1. Sir Loin Of Beef

        Re: Guilty?

        Yes, The Intercept fucked up, admitted it, and helped her court case as best they could. But I wouldn't stop trusting them because of this.

        1. Alistair Silver badge

          Re: Guilty?

          I'm going to point out that The Intercept followed the law. In my view RW fucked up in sending the document to the Intercept in the way that she did.

          Oddly, *faxing* it to them would have substantially obscured the digital watermark that identified the printer and person printing the doc.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guilty?

        I suspect she was hoping for a jury nullification

        Basically a jury doesn't have to follow the law if they think it is unjust.

    5. handleoclast

      Re: Guilty?

      She's as guilty as a puppy sat next to a pile of poo.

      One of life's little pleasures, if one is a psychopath, is having a crap near a puppy and waiting for it to get the blame.

  4. Thoguht Silver badge

    Being called Reality Winner should itself be an indictable offence.

    1. tom dial Silver badge

      For the parents, maybe. Reality is innocent of that charge.

      1. Thoguht Silver badge

        It's trivially easy to change your name in the US. Except in Louisiana, which still follows Napoleonic law.

        1. Steve the Cynic

          It's trivially easy to change your name in the US.

          Compared to changing your name in England, pretty much anywhere in the US counts as at least moderately difficult.

          Go to a solicitor who is also a notary, and swear a statutory declaration. Cost 50 quid and a small amount of time for them to fill in the blanks on the form. The late Mrs Cynic was fond of doing it every now and then, which caused us ... difficulties ... later, when dealing with the French bureaucracy.

          There are other ways, but the most widely accepted is the statutory declaration. In particular, of note for our Left-Pondian readers who *reside* in Right-Pondia, the US Embassy in London does not accept the other ways of doing it. (Mrs Cynic was not only Left-Pondian, but in fact Texan in origin, which is how I know about the US Embassy's preferences.)

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      " Being called Reality Winner should itself be an indictable offence."

      It's her brother, Pickus Andrew, I feel sorry for.

      I know, shouldn't trivialize a serious situation, but sometimes....

    3. BillG

      When I read the title I thought Reality Winner meant something else

      Being called Reality Winner should itself be an indictable offence.

      Blame her mother Billie Winner.

    4. Jeffrey Nonken Silver badge

      "Being called Reality Winner should itself be an indictable offence."

      Ad hominem! ;)

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not the sharpest tool in the shed

    She'll have plenty of time to get an education while in prison.

  6. Winkypop Silver badge

    Fox News

    Cruel and unusual punishment!

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sheesh, I guess this is a place for serious discussion:

    1. These people have invaded your machines including your printer. Happy with that?

    2. A leak site has no clue what they're doing. Happy with that?

    3. The NSA wants to prevent people finding out about Russian Government hacking elections. Happy with that?

    1. Aodhhan

      Wrong.. it wasn't the NSA who wanted to withhold knowledge of Russia hacking voting systems; it was the Obama administration. This has been known now for almost a year.

  8. John G Imrie Silver badge


    Billie noted that the espionage charge preventing her daughter from discussing details of the matter with a trial jury, a requirement that could make her defense more difficult.

    How the hell can you get a fair trial when the jury cant hear your evidence.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. Richard Wharram

    The Intercept?

    If Reality was really worried about Russian interference she picked an odd place to leak it to.

  10. phuzz Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "Trump-backed entertainment channel Fox News"

    Almost hid that bit of snark there elReg ;)

    Or should I say 'Vulture-backed IT news site, elReg'.

  11. Sir Loin Of Beef

    The Espionage Act needs to be abolished. This cuntry...

  12. Aodhhan

    Typical spoiled little brat.

    No coping mechanism to deal with an uncomfortable situation.

    Most work places which allow news to be shown on television don't have the sound on, or the sound is very low. So I'm betting she is exaggerating quite a bit. Likely, she was looking for some sort of attention out of the ordeal.

    Plus I'm sure, she figured her pantyhose was a perfect place for stashing documents. Listening to her talk and looking at her social media... I'm betting nobody has tried to breach her pantyhose on a Friday/Saturday night.

  13. Mike 16 Silver badge

    Clearance checks

    A former coworker was hauled out of a US Secure Communications facility when they finally figured out that he was in fact a Canadian citizen (as he stated clearly on the forms he) months after he was given his clearance.

    As for "tell us about everything you could be blackmail for", how's that working out for the thousands whose files were leaked by OPM. Any jail time for the patronage-based hacks there?

    1. Alistair Silver badge

      Re: Clearance checks


      I was born in Lynn Mass. Took up Canadian citizenship in 1978. Dad was a British Subject.

      I can get Sec clearances here, in the US, Britain and Hong Kong for some strange reason. Weird it might be.

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