Monday, June 04, 2018

Editor-in-Chief, Betsy Reed: WHISTLEBLOWERS PAY A TERRIBLE PRICE @ The Intercept

One year ago, FBI agents arrived at the door of a young woman named Reality Winner. Winner, an Air Force veteran and contractor at the National Security Agency facility in Augusta, Georgia, was accused of leaking a top-secret NSA document describing a Russian hacking operation targeting the U.S. voting system. At the time, President Donald Trump was loudly denouncing claims of Russian hacking as “fake news,” and he had just fired FBI Director James Comey because he wanted to end the investigation into “this Russia thing with Trump and Russia.” The document that Winner is accused of leaking was the subject of an article, published by The Intercept two days after her arrest, detailing the Russian hacking attempt on the cusp of the 2016 election. Winner was interrogated and jailed, charged under the Espionage Act, and denied bail. She remains in jail today.
In a piece published by The Intercept on Sunday, the one-year anniversary of Winner’s arrest, Peter Maass compares the punitive treatment of Winner, whose alleged leak alerted the public to the hacking effort, to that of Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, who is suspected of colluding with Russians and is facing charges of conspiracy, money laundering, bank fraud, and lying to federal investigators — and who received the government’s blessing to spend his recent Christmas holiday at his 10-room Hamptons mansion.
Over the past year, The Intercept has been following legal developments in Winner’s case, which has faced setbacks after multiple court rulings have restricted her attorneys’ ability to defend her. (The Intercept’s parent company, First Look Media, has contributed to her legal defense through its Press Freedom Defense Fund.) Throughout, the fanatical secrecy of the government has been a tremendous hurdle.
As James Risen recently argued, it is becoming increasingly clear that the leaking of the NSA report was a vital public service. A May report by the Senate Intelligence Committee noted that state election officials learned about the Russian hacking “from the press or from the public Committee hearing on June 21, 2017.” The Intercept story ran less than three weeks before that hearing.
There’s still a lot we don’t know, however, about exactly what local election officials knew about the attacks on their systems, and when they knew it. The Intercept has been investigating. Sam Biddle filed his first report on this on Friday — and there is more to come.

If you can, please make a donation to support Reality Winner’s defense. All donations made on this page will be directed to the Press Freedom Defense Fund for Reality Winner.
Betsy Reed
Whatever You Think of the Trump-Russia Investigation, Whistleblower Reality Winner Deserves Your Support
Trevor Timm
Hardly anyone from the center to the left supports the former NSA contractor, but they all should.
Reality Winner Has Been in Jail for a Year. Her Prosecution Is Unfair and Unprecedented.
Peter Maass
Winner is accused of leaking a classified NSA document that helped alert Americans to Russian hacking attacks against the U.S. voting system.
Here’s the Email Russian Hackers Used to Try to Break Into State Voting Systems
Sam Biddle
The simplicity of the email, which included a malicious election software manual, is part of the playbook of an advanced attacker, an expert said.

More Intercept Coverage

First Look to Support Defense of Reality Winner in Espionage Act Prosecution
Betsy Reed
The Press Freedom Defense Fund opposes prosecution of journalistic sources under the Espionage Act, and The Intercept concludes its review of reporting practices.
Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election
Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle, Ryan Grim
A top-secret National Security Agency report details a monthslong Russian hacking effort against the U.S. election infrastructure.
Judge Denies Bail for Reality Winner, Accepting Prosecutor’s Dubious Allegations
Trevor Timm
The judge took many of the prosecution’s charges about Reality Winner’s views at face value — portending a tough road ahead at trial.
Senate Report Strongly Implies Russian Hacking Story Was a Public Service — but Whistleblower Reality Winner Remains in Jail 
James Risen
Other outlets reported on Russian intrusion into the U.S. elections system, but The Intercept’s story relied on a leaked document.
The Government Is Trying to Make It Impossible for Reality Winner to Defend Herself in Court
Trevor Timm
The government is imposing secrecy rules that tie the defense team’s hands.
How the Interrogation of Reality Winner Reveals the Deceptive Tactics of “Exceedingly Friendly” FBI Agents
Peter Maass
FBI agents chatted about their love of dogs and their workout routines to entice Winner to talk during a disputed interrogation at her home.
Reality Winner Was Not Told She Had the Right to Remain Silent
Trevor Timm
Lawyers for Reality Winner, the ex-NSA contractor accused of leaking a top-secret document published by The Intercept, want her alleged confession thrown out.
James Comey’s Memos Reveal the Reasons Donald Trump Wants to Find Leakers and Put Reporters in Jail
James Risen
There is a big difference between the kind of leaks Trump usually decries on Twitter and the kind that lead to criminal prosecutions.
The Reality Winner Prosecution Relies on Secrecy and Fearmongering
Trevor Timm
The former NSA contractor’s bail appeal shows how the government is treating her unlike almost anyone ever charged under the Espionage Act.

Join us in supporting Reality Winner. All donations made here will be directed to the Press Freedom Defense Fund in support of her defense.

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First Look Media
114 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

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