Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The Reality Winner Prosecution Relies on Secrecy and Fearmongering

THE DECISION IN October of an Augusta, Georgia, judge to deny former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner’s bail request was “baseless and unprecedented,” according to her defense team, which is asking the U.S. Court of Appeals to reverse it and grant her release before her trial.

Winner, who was charged in June with violating the Espionage Act for allegedly releasing national security information, has been behind bars for more than six months now. With her trial set to start as soon as this spring — and potential added delays looming in the complex proceedings — Winner may end up serving more time in pretrial confinement than she would be sentenced to if she is found guilty.

Denying Winner bail is out of step with virtually every prosecution under the Espionage Act on record. The lone exception comes in a bizarre case involving, as Winner’s lawyers put it, “a defendant who allegedly hoarded 50 terabytes of classified information over a 20-year period and had ongoing issues with mental health and alcohol abuse.” The cases are wholly incomparable.


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