Added: Jean Geib - Date: 27.10.2021 21:16 - Views: 12158 - Clicks: 5196
In the summer ofa year-old government contractor exposed detailed evidence of Russian interference in the election. Reality Winner printed out classified U. Intelligence documents, hid the papers in her pantyhose as she left work and then put them in the mail to The Intercept. The report they published was the first piece of concrete evidence shared with the public proving that the United States possessed tangible evidence that Russians hackers attacked American voting systems.
A fter The Intercept published the story — complete with scans of the original papers — authorities immediately traced the leak back to Reality Winner. She was arrested, denied bail and is now serving five years in a federal prison. Kerry Howley wrote an in-depth profile of Reality Winner for New York Magazine and s to share the compelling story of who Winner is, why she did it and the severe treatment she's received at the hands of the United States government.
It's not able to anyone. We don't even know what it costs necessarily. That's massively geographically distributed and involvesof our fellow Americans who go to work every day and can't tell their families what they do. And it's like, who are those people, right? And we picture year-old white men who are grim in suits. But no, there are people like Reality Winner.
There are young people, people who have been pulled into this world that's completely hidden. So, there's basically three prongs to Russian interference in the election — two of which we basically have comprehensive knowledge about or a lot of knowledge aboutand one of which remains somewhat murky and occluded.
The first is the hacking of s, right? Those s then were distributed via WikiLeaks and they drove huge amounts of press coverage, were very damaging to the Clinton campaign. We know about that thanks to both forensic reports from private firms, from statements put up by the intelligence agencies, and also most comprehensively the Mueller indictments that walk through the hacking operation.
There's also the kind of bot network, the Internet Research Agencywhich was doing all this stuff on social media, trolling and running Facebookand even in some crazy cases organizing groups of demonstrators, like of Americans from their headquarters in St. Petersburg, I believe. So, that's one. And then the third is in some ways like the most ominous — but also the one that's been the least transparently discussed — and that is Russian hackers probing various U.
We have some information about that. Some has been made Nsa with St petersburg real man, some has been made sort of half-public. There's this thing that keeps happening in which the government will say that [the Russians] attempted to penetrate certain election systems, and then not tell us which ones or to what extent.
And the first time that we really learned about the attempts by Russian hackers to get into election software — which, let's just keep in mind that this is real kind of apocalyptic stuff, right? I mean, a foreign intelligence apparatus penetrating the software upon which U. I mean, you could imagine them deleting and mass voter registrations causing chaos. You could imagine them in the most extreme setting, changing vote tallies.
None of that happened — as far as we know, evidence that any of that happened — but they were rooting around those systems, and the degree to which they were able to penetrate them remains somewhat unclear. And in the summer ofJunethere was an article about this effort. It was sort of the first big published article, and it appeared in a publication called The Intercept. Nsa with St petersburg real man Intercept was an interesting place for it to appear. The Intercept was founded in If you've ever seen a movie about that, it's incredible. Glenn Greenwald, who was the person who got the Snowden documents.
And Jeremy Scahill, longtime reporter and writer who worked for The Nation, among other places. And the sort of editorial perspective of the publication has always been deeply skeptical of the intelligence apparatus, intelligence officials, the U. That term is obviously loaded when you're Nsa with St petersburg real man about Edward Snowden, but from their perspective, he's a whistleblower.
And there had also been, I think, sort of prominent editorial voices there: Greenwald chief among them, had been very skeptical of stories about Russian election interference and manipulation, that that should be taken with a grain of salt, that perhaps it was being overstated and manipulated.
And so when this story appeared in The Intercept, it was both a huge scoop. The story had actual U. Again, big deal, and it was the first, if I'm not mistaken, first time that we really had concrete evidence that there was tangible intelligence info that the U.
That story was published. It was very notable and interesting. It appeared in The Intercept when what it demonstrated seemed to be in some tension with the kind of posture of some of the most prominent editorial voices there. And then a few days later, the person who leaked this information, a contractor with the NSA, a woman by the name Reality Winner, was arrested by the FBI. She was denied bail and ultimately sentenced to five years in federal prison. Now, what she did was a violation of law. It was classified information that she leaked. That's illegal, but the treatment of her has been honestly insane.
There is no credible evidence that the publishing of this information harm national security in any way. In fact, a lot of it hasn't been made public subsequently. In fact, there's a good case to be made it's information we should know as an Nsa with St petersburg real man public.
People who come forward to distribute information they feel the government is hiding that the public should know about. But she's a strange case because she doesn't have a kind of natural ideological cohort backing her. The folks on the left, who are very skeptical of intelligence agencies, and the so-called deep state, fit awkwardly with what she was trying to demonstrate in her leak, which was to convince the folks at The Intercept that the Russia thing is real. It's really happening. They really, really did do some gnarly stuff and you should take this seriously.
So, there's not this sort of like built-in kind of base to support Reality Winner on the elements on the left ideological spectrum, that have been the sort of base for support of intelligence, whistleblowers and leakers. And on the right, she was showing that Russia really was putting it some on the scale on behalf of Donald Trump. And there's no ideological appetite on that side either.
And so her case, I think, has been caught in this kind of shameful limbo. And what's been done to her is just to my mind, insane. I mean, what she did was rash. It was impulsive, it was a violation of both the law and what the oath she had taken in her job. All of that is unquestionably true, but five years in federal prison for what she did is just an unbelievable penalty.
And the government's treatment of her, as you'll hear in Nsa with St petersburg real man conversation, has been just relentlessly punitive at every single turn. And the human story of who she is and why she did what she did is a super compelling one. I first kind of came upon the full human story in this fantastic profile that was written about her back in by a phenomenal nonfiction writer named Kerry Howley.
It's called Who Is Reality Winner?
And subsequently Kerry wrote a screenplay about Reality Winner that has now been acquiredand I think it's going to go into production. And I had been wanting for a while to take a deep dive on Reality Winner's case, because it's stands at the nexus of so many of the issues that kind of run through our discourse right now about who to trust, about the so-called deep state, about the ways in which career government officials are wrestling with the Trump era and the Trump moment — and when to go against their bosses and when to make information public and what we know and don't know and what secrets lurk out there.
All of which kind of hangs over the entirety of our political discourse in the moment of Trump, particularly in the wake of the manipulation of the election and the criminal sabotage conducted by a foreign intelligence agency in Russia. So, Kerry Howley very kindly agreed to come on the podcast and talk about who Reality Winner is, what happened to her, what her story is — and I think it is both an incredible story about the moment we're in in Nsa with St petersburg real man country and also just a really, I think, moving human story about the complex motives that go into a person who decides to take a risk like Reality Winner did.
I want to just start at the most basic level with the story because I think the details of it are not very well known despite the fact they are fascinating and unnerving in many ways. Maybe just tell me: Who is Reality Winner? One day she walked into her job and she had come across a document that detailed Russian election interference at Nsa with St petersburg real man level of detail that we hadn't yet seen publicly at that point. She prints it out, that document, folds it up, put it in her pantyhose and walked out, and sometime later mailed it to The Intercept, where it was subsequently published and she's currently serving a sentence of 63 months in a maximum security in Fort Worth for that crime.
I mean, the first thing when I heard about this story, and this is a dumb surface thing, but her name.
The first thought was like, "Who is the kind of person who's named Reality and to which household Nsa with St petersburg real man a baby come that then gets named Reality? Like, really? In this age in which everything seems so absurd we're going to add the name Reality Winner to the pile? But another hilarious aspect of this is that she has a sister named Brittany.
Brittany and Reality. Her father gave her that name. Her parents had decided that her mother would get to name the first and her father would name the second. The larger question of who is Reality Winner is a fascinating character study. I mean, as soon as I started researching this, I was hit with Nsa with St petersburg real man how hilarious this person is. The legal documents that I was accessing just to begin the story, to begin the process of telling the story, involved her FBI interrogation. She's hilarious in her FBI interrogation. Her Facebook messages, which were brought up in court with her sister are very funny.
She's a vegan, she's a social justice activist. She is a gun rights supporter. She's just one of these millennials who crosses lines, right? She doesn't fit easily into any particular box. That made her really fun to write about. And it's really the animating question, I think, of the profile and in some ways the film. How does this person who is so invested in social justice, thinks of herself as someone who raises awareness about all these causes, about what she has great anxiety, like global warming and Syrian War orphans and African elephants?
It's a very complicated question to answer. It starts with her ing up with the Air Force, which is something that I think she saw as a humanitarian act. She didn't see the goals of her idealistic humanitarianism and ing up with the military to be intention at all.
And I don't think many people in Kingsville, Texas, where she's from necessarily do. And so she s up and she ends up actually in the drone program. She's trying to go abroad. She ends up a linguist. So, the Air Force trains her as a linguist. She's fluent in Farsi, Dari, and Pashto I mean, the armed services always need more people who speak languages like those. It's very hard to train people to speak them because those languages are difficult to learn if you're a native English speaker, and the world of people that can train and learn Dari and Pashto is fairly small.
It's not like learning Spanish. She must have some considerable aptitude if she's able to acquire some level of mastery or competence in those. I mean, I think she was very good at her job. All of this is classified. It's very hard to get people to talk about their participation in the drone program.
But those who would talk to me said things like, "She was excellent and very professional," and she clearly had an aptitude for languages and she had this job where all day long she's listening to communications and she knows she's eavesdropping on people in Pakistan, transcribing.
And those translations were used for military actions, right? People, it seems, would have died due to her translations. It's a very serious, troubling job Nsa with St petersburg real man I think caused her a lot of anxiety and guilt. She's someone who's very animated by social justice, really cares about global causes particularly, she goes into the Air Force with a kind of view that this would be a means to that end. She ends up training as a linguist and then she's surveilling folks in Pakistan and using the product of that surveillance to target people that will then be blown up by airstrikes.
I'm going to learn these languages and then I'm not going to use these languages to eavesdrop.Nsa with St petersburg real man
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