A government contractor for a U.S. intelligence agency appeared in federal court on Monday for sending classified material to an online news outlet last month.
Reality Leigh Winner, 25, was arrested at her Georgia home on Saturday and has been charged with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to the news outlet, which was not identified by name in a Department of Justice press release or criminal complaint.
“On or about May 9, Winner printed and improperly removed classified intelligence reporting, which contained classified national defense information from an intelligence community agency, and unlawfully retained it. Approximately a few days later, Winner unlawfully transmitted by mail the intelligence reporting to an online news outlet,” a release from the Department of Justice stated.
Winner, a contractor with Pluribus International Corporation, was employed at a U.S. government agency facility in Georgia since about Feb. 13, during which time she had top secret clearance.
“Exceptional law enforcement efforts allowed us quickly to identify and arrest the defendant,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. “Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation.”