Accused Georgia NSA leaker appearing in court this week to ask for release

In this June 6, 2013, file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md.
In this June 6, 2013, file photo, a sign stands outside the National Security Administration (NSA) campus in Fort Meade, Md. AP

Reality Winner, a former Air Force linguist accused of leaking an National Security Agency (NSA) report to an online news source, could be released soon from jail pending her trial.

The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports Winner’s attorneys will ask for her release at a hearing in Augusta this Friday at 10 a.m. She is currently being held in the Lincoln County Jail in Lincolton, about 40 miles northwest of Augusta.

Her attorneys said if freed, Winner would be required to “reside at her home in Augusta, not travel beyond Richmond County without permission, regularly keep contact with a pretrial services officer and have her parents post their property as bond,” the AJC reported.

Winner’s attorneys are pushing for her release after the courts postponed her trial date from Oct. 23 to March 19. They are also citing other cases where accused leakers have been freed prior to trial, such as the case against Gen. David Petraeus who eventually pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified materials, according to the AJC report.

Attorneys are also concerned about Winner’s health behind bars. Prior to being placed in jail, Winner kept a vegan diet and has since developed “gastrointestinal issues” in the Lincoln County Jail.

Winner was working in Augusta as a federal contractor when she reportedly leaked an NSA report about Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election to an online news publication, The Intercept. She had top secret security clearance and had been assigned to a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia since February 13, CNN reports.

She is accused of printing a classified intelligence report on May 9 and mailing it to The Intercept a few days later, according to CNN. She has pleaded not guilty to charges filed by the Justice Department.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari said Winner had been recorded in a jailhouse phone call discussing multiple documents, which raised concerns that there could be other information leaked beyond the NSA report, the AJC reported.

“Now that I have heard the recordings myself, I’d like to clarify some of the information for the court and counsel,” Solari said.

Lauren Gorla: 706-571-8647, @gorla94