Discussion: Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner Set To Plead Guilty

Probably shouldn’t use her name in the headline. Until one starts reading the article, one truly struggles to parse that headline! Was this leaker someone who won a prize on a reality show?


Exactly. Certainly not her birth name. Indeed, it makes me wonder if the whole thing is not a bad CIA plot to entrap some nefarious organization, perhaps by making the bona fides of the documents she is alleged to have leaked more believable.

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Yeah I too had forgotten that was her name and thought what the hell is this about!

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She was arrested because the Intercept sent a pdf of the document back to the NSA asking for comment, which enabled them to identify the source, rather than reading them what they had and asking for comment.

Either they were inexcusably negligent in protecting a source, which is the first obligation of people who call themselves journalists, or they intentionally outed her out of spite for sharing documents that were directly contrary to Greenwald’s “McCarthyism!” crap. It’s actually easier to believe the latter if you’ve seen how Greenwald’s Narcissitic Personalty Disorder manifests over the years.


No whistleblower angle here?


I agree completely. Until I read well into the article I couldn’t make any sense of that headline. I thought it had something to do with some reality show, which I suppose might make a weird kind of sense in that a half-baked reality show “star” is currently pretending to be president.

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I think her intention was to be a whistleblower but she picked the wrong news organization to contact, and they made a dog’s breakfast of the whole thing. A pity.


That may have been the proximate cause of her arrest, but she didn’t take steps to cover up her actions – despite being tech savvy. Looks like the actions of someone who put herself in harm’s way for the sake of something she considered too important to overlook. By prosecuting her, the government has validated her information. It can’t be dismissed as “fake news”.


How could you forget a thing like that? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


Actually it is her birth name.


The lesson here is always send your leaks to an authoritative source that has a history of protecting their sources. NYT, WP are both good places to start. This leak was important because it showed that there’s a lot more going on with election interference than we know about, and that it’s being held back for some reason. There may be reasons to keep the facts classified, but the entire thing being hidden is really not what should be happening…which says there are more people than just the WH inhabitants who are just fine with the election result even if it was tampered with.


Thank you both for these comments and analysis. There are many threads here to pul.

FREE Reality!

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Leaks or compromises of communications intel can destroy precious sources.

I have no sympathy for persons who do this. A few years back the public learned that an NSA employee told the Russians that we had a tap on one of their undersea cables. He got life. Should have been shot. He did it for money. .

" By prosecuting her, the government has validated her information…"

You don’t know this to be a fact. And she’s not to be admired.

…With the caveat that the Feds just went after all the communications of a reporter from there…

Seems the Feds are much more interested in ensuring that bad news doesn’t get out, rather than that nefarious shit isn’t happening to begin with.

Some things are legitimate secrets and need to be kept. Other stuff, like lying about the NSA spying on Americans, is simply inexcusable in a Democracy.


In a lot of ways, she’s representative of the generation gap between the security establishment and the people her age they have to hire. The profound naivete of the way she went about this, the naivete of thinking Glenn Greenwald, who otherwise just totally rocked, would change the basic thrust of his coverage if only she shared this important info she had that he didn’t, the naivete of thinking Greenwald would protect her, and the idea that she was in a position to decide whether it should leak. There’s just a mutual comprehension gap at work here, similar to the one you saw with Chelsea Manning.

What really strikes me, though, is that it looks to me like Greenwald deliberately outed her. You’d think a real journalist whose mission statement is “publish secret Deep State stuff” would bend over backward to protect and cultivate the kind of information pipeline she could have been. And instead what happened looks to me like that he put together a scheme to out her and shut down a source of leaks that might have endangered his ability to credibly continue his “McCarthyism! I’m totally not in Putin’s camp, honest, but argle bargle Deep State blargh!” line under the pretext of being a responsible journalist very responsibly giving an agency an opportunity to comment before publication.

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The government has no case otherwise.

I’m speculating to be sure, but Greenwald might have gotten cold feet if it was he indeed who was offered this material.
Intel derived from communications intel is Top Secret Codeword. Doesn’t get any more sensitive than that.
Once a piece of intel derived from intercepts is out there, it doesn’t take long for the target to shut down the source.
Greenwald, if it was him, might have feared prosecution.
We may never know, but that’s my speculation and I’m sticking to it.

Imagine if the Japanese or Germans knew for certain we had broken their codes. They did have suspicions.

The other day Andrea Mitchell interviewed a man who had infiltrated the Taliban for two years. A magazine article drew suspicion to him. He was lucky to get away – with the help of MI6 – for which he was working.

Publications have got to use some judgement before publishing classified info. The WaPo waited – a whole year? When they finally did, well frankly, it did not take a lot of courage by then.