Accused NSA leaker wrote she wanted 'to burn the White House Down'

Federal prosecutors say investigators found a journal in the home of suspected NSA leaker Reality Leigh Winner in which it appears she wrote, "I want to burn the White House Down."

The revelation came at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Augusta, Ga., on Thursday in which a federal judge ordered Winner held without bail. Earlier this week, she was charged with leaking classified U.S. intelligence documents to the website The Intercept.

Winner allegedly wrote "I want to burn the White House Down ... find somewhere in Kurdistan to live. Ha-ha!” assistant U.S. attorney Jennifer Solari told a federal judge.

On another page in one of the notebooks found by investigators, prosecutors said, Winner listed the names of several Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders, including Osama bin Laden. Her writings also included plans to travel to Afghanistan.

Prosecutors added Winner, 25, might try to flee the U.S. if she were released on bail. "She would undoubtedly be a target of recruitment from our adversaries," Solari told Judge Brian Epps, according to NBC News.

The former Air Force linguist, who was working as a government contractor for Pluribus International Corp., is accused of leaking classified documents that the website The Intercept used to publish a report claiming Russian military intelligence hacked a Florida voting software company and attempted to gain access to voter information by sending a “spear-fishing” email to more than 100 local election officials shortly before the November election.

Winner has pleaded not guilty to one count of "willful retention and transmission of national defense information.” If convicted, she faces up to 10 years in prison.

She allegedly accessed the classified documents, printed them and mailed the information to the news organization.

Solari also said a laptop belonging to Winner and seized by federal agents contained software that could enable her to access online black-markets and buy items — such as a fake ID or passport — without revealing her identity or location. In addition to the notebooks and laptops, investigators seized a Defense Department-issued country book on Iran, several electronic devices and a U.S. passport belonging to Winner, according to a search warrant.

"We don't know how much more she knows and how much more she remembers," Solari said during the hearing, according to the Associated Press. "But we do know she's very intelligent. So she's got a lot of valuable information in her head."

Prosecutors said that while in jail, Winner spoke with her mother, who asked her, "Do you know why you were arrested?"

"Mom, it's those documents," she responded, the feds say. "I screwed up."

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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