Reality Winner, the former government contractor accused of leaking classified information, will remain jailed until her trial. The prosecution presented a writing of Winner’s that said she wanted “to burn the White House Down” and “find somewhere in Kurdistan to live,” prompting prosecutors to argue that she would be a flight risk.
As reported by Fox News, Winner appeared in court on Thursday. The judge determined Winner would not be released on bond after the prosecution used Winner’s writings to demonstrate she may attempt to flee the country if not held in jail.
The notebook, owned by Winner, contained alleged plans to set fire to the White House, travel to Afghanistan, and swear allegiance to the Taliban.
Assistant US Attorney Jennifer Solari did tell the judge, “The government is not in any way suggesting the defendant has become a jihadist or that she is a Taliban sympathizer,” but the judge did admit that Winner’s writings whether they were “a jest or not, it still concerns” him.
Prosecutors also expressed worry during the hearing regarding a missing thumb drive that Winner attached to a top-secret computer before leaving military service.
Titus Nichols, Winner’s attorney, said in court that the threat posed by Winner was being exaggerated, suggesting she was being punished for being a millennial. “Because my client is a millennial and she knows how to use technology, that’s somehow proof of evil intent,” said Nichols. “The government is scraping and clawing to build a mountain out of a molehill.”
While in jail, Winner called her mother, coaching her on what to say to the media. She urged her mother to tell reporters that Winner was “scared.” The phone call, which was recorded per standard jailhouse procedures, also had Winner saying, “Mom, those documents. I screwed up.”
During a phone call with her sister, Winner allegedly said that she believed the bond hearing would go her way based on her being “pretty, white and cute.”
Winner pleaded not guilty to charges of illegally retaining and transmitting national defense information during the Thursday hearing. She is accused of copying and sending a classified report to a news outlet.
While it has been confirmed that the report contained top-secret material, authorities have not provided details regarding the information and have declined to name the media organization that received the material. However, the announcement of Winner’s arrest does coincide with a statement from The Intercept that it had obtained a classified NSA report that suggested a US voting software supplier was attacked by Russian hackers prior to the last presidential election.