AUGUSTA, GA. (KIII NEWS) - The family of 25-year-old Reality Leigh Winner, the intelligence contractor charged with leaking classified information about Russian hacking in the 2016 election, is now speaking out about her arrest.
Winner, a graduate of H.M. King High School in Kingsville, was known as a fitness enthusiast who posted her workout videos on Facebook, but now she faces prosecution under the Espionage Law for sending top secret documents to a website called The Intercept.
Winner's parents told our sister station WSB in Augusta, Ga., they are distraught.
"I've seen so many ugly things out there and she doesn't deserve that, and I just want her to be treated fair," her mother Billie Winner-Davis said.
Her daughter worked in Augusta at a branch of the National Security Agency. She was technically employed by a government contractor.
"Contractors typically have top secret security clearance, which means they have, in theory, had the full field investigation," former NSA advisor Richard Clarke said. "But they're not subject to continuous monitoring by the Agency."
Winner was a six-year Air Force veteran before becoming a contractor for the NSA. According to court documents, the FBI quickly figured out she was one of only six people who had printed the leaked top secret document, and she was the only one who had e-mail contact with the journalists.
The FBI said Winner has admitted to being the leaker.
"She will be entering a plea of not guilty," attorney Titus Nichols said. "Ms. Winner is looking forward to just having her day in court and allowing a jury of her peers to make a final determination."
Winner now faces up to 10 years in prison.
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