Reality Winner Appears to Have Already Leaked “Documents” Plural

There appears to be a misunderstanding about details revealed at the bail hearing for Reality Winner last week, where Magistrate Judge Brian Epps denied her bail. Epps did so because she allegedly said she said wanted to burn the White House down and because prosecutor Jennifer Solari — who sounds like she made some pretty inflated claims — suggested Winner might have more to leak. There’s no written record for this yet, but it appears from one of the less-shitty reports on the hearing that the claim is based on three things: First, Winner stuck a thumb drive in a Top Secret computer last year.

Winner inserted a portable hard drive in a top-secret Air Force computer before she left the military last year. She said authorities don’t know what happened to the drive or what was on it.

Second, because Solari portrayed the 25-year old translator’s knowledge as a danger unto itself (more ridiculously, she painted Winner’s knowledge of Tor — which Winner didn’t use to look up sensitive information — as a means by which she might flee).

“We don’t know how much more she knows and how much more she remembers,” Solari said. “But we do know she’s very intelligent. So she’s got a lot of valuable information in her head.”

And finally, because Winner told her mother, in a conversation from jail that was recorded, that she was sorry about the documents, plural.

Solari said Winner also confessed to her mother during a recorded jailhouse phone call, saying: “Mom, those documents. I screwed up.”

Solari apparently emphasized the latter point as a way to suggest Winter might still have documents to leak.

Solari stressed that Winner referred to “documents” in the plural, and that federal agents were looking to see whether she may have stolen other classified information.

The idea is that because Winner used the plural and she only leaked one document, there must be more she’s planning on leaking.

Except that doesn’t appear right.

It appears Winner actually already leaked two documents.

While the Intercept article describes a document, singular, what they actually appear to have gotten are two documents — the report on the Russian hacking, and one page of a two-page document laying out the hacks. The Intercept calls the second document “an overview chart.”

But the “chart” actually has its own separate pagination (indeed, its own separate pagination format). The “document” paginates by page number,

Whereas the “chart” paginates by pages out of total.

Moreover, the “chart” also uses a different title than the report.

That’s not to say they’re not related. It’s just two say that we already appear to have documents, plural, from Winner.

Moreover, are we really led to believe that 3 years after Edward Snowden succeeded in loading a bunch of documents onto a flash drive because he was in a remote facility where insider threat programs hadn’t yet been fully implemented, had SysAdmin access, and had pulled some strings to retain an outdated computer that had a port, a translator in an NSA or other military facility could use a flash drive without a very close accounting of what she downloaded?

Mind you, her attorney should have argued as much in the detention hearing if Winner really thinks these are multiple documents. But appears they are.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

15 replies
  1. TGuerrant says:

    A caption in the Intercept article says the report was five pages long, which would account for the four pages of text and the one page of what was apparently a two-page chart. Another caption refers to the chart as an attachment to the report.

    If Winner or someone else in the whistleblower chain did the attaching, then yes, two documents have surfaced, not one. If NSA did the attaching, then one document has surfaced – so far.

    Why would the NSA produce a single document with two page-numbering systems? It’s not unusual in government reports, especially those kluged together and not destined for Congress or the public. The chart may have originated in a different software program that didn’t readily combine with the report (Illustrator vs. MS Word, for example) or came in a locked form that didn’t make it easy for the report preparer to reformat it at the page-numbering level. The chart may have been created for a briefing, for instance, and later tacked onto the report as the text proceeded through review/comment channels.

    Why would only one page of a two-page chart surface? Possibly Winner and anyone working with her failed to capture the second page or decided to withhold it, but more likely something on the second page was at a higher classification level because it contained compartmented information on, say, sigint, and was therefore not put on a network cleared “only” for top secret material.

    Nonetheless, Winner may have set more information free than we yet know. Like you, I am amazed that this far into the Post-Snowden Era such endeavors seem to be so easy if you’re willing to bear the consequences. Another point of amazement: It’s only AFTER they hear Winner saying “documents” plural to her mom that they go looking for other lifts.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      “but more likely something on the second page was at a higher classification level because it contained compartmented information on, say, sigint, and was therefore not put on a network cleared “only” for top secret material.”

      Not buying. If it had a different SCI marking, it should be a separate document. All of the markings should be at the top of the first page.

      • SpaceLifeForm says:

        Alternatively, there could be lower classification level on lower pages, because the top page classification covers the lower pages. But it is not legal to bury higher level classifications under a subordinate classification.

        Otherwise, someone could bury intel inside what on the surface apoears to be a mundane, say ‘secret’ document, and communicate the document id to someone that really does not have clearance to the buried intel, but does have clearance to document due to the markings on top of first page.

        This scenario likely happening today.

  2. SpaceLifeForm says:

    “Winner inserted a portable hard drive in a top-secret Air Force computer before she left the military last year.”

    Wow. The spin gets better by the hour.
    What was alleged was that she googled on USB on a TS/SCI computer while at AF (find my earlier post on this). *NOT* that she used a thumb drive at AF *OR* at Fort Gordon.

    Attack via media in effect.

    So, this gets even more interesting. So, after Snowden, IC swore up and down *TO CONGRESS* that they would secure their systems better.

    Apparently, IC is flat out admitting they lied to Congress.

    Three years after the Snowden leaks, they are saying that USB access is still available?

    Seriously?

    • LeMoyne says:

      I *think* teh ‘less shitty’ reports were sorta clear that Solari alleged that Winner:

      1) Stuck a USB drive in a TS computer when she was in the AF

      2) Googled about that ‘USB on TS computer’ later, and

      3) Printed out the document(s?) (at Pluribus)

      So, I interpreted all that to mean that the USB insertion triggered a honeypot trap on Winner [how they knew it was her without the USB drive is very unclear].  Already tracking everyone, they (NSA?) noticed that she noticed that ‘nothing’ happened (nothing saved to USB) with the Google search about USB on TS, and they also (FBI?) thought she might be careless enough to trap. So, they made sure she had access to something that they wanted to leak (versus Trumputin) and she fell in the trap.

      Russia fingered (truck fump), Winner trapped (tough on leakers!) and Intercept badly tarnished (triple bonus!) : win!-win!-win!!!

      Occam’s Razor is getting dull because there is very little that we can slice away and rule out.  So, just sayin’ the above… who the hell really knows… don’t expect the whole truth to come out even if there is a trial… they will hyper-charge her and she will plead out or trial will be secret anyway. Poor kid.

      This whole thing is really gonna help the armed forces get more Farsi+Arabic translators… NOT!

  3. LeMoyne says:

    After seeing what was done to Drake and Binney after their decades of entirely earnest and honorable service, after watching other whistleblowers get framed up for espionage, after hearing all the top brass and POTII rail against leakers for decades…  they are just unloading on RW each and every way that they can.  The USG loves this setup to communcate: Leak and go to directly to jail for a decade.

    Of course, it is possible that the Intercept got more documents that require more context or vetting and/or just don’t make such a nice, tidy story.  Don’t expect either the Intercept or the USG to say … ever, really.  Reality Winner may consistently argue there is just the one set of two docs, but it is not clear to me that we will even hear that clearly even if it occurs in the context of her not guilty plea.

    The RW affair is appalling in the context of Trump’s dangerous leaks and Kushner’s conspiracy to create covert communications of, by, for, with, through and to foreign agents.  It seems very disingenuous for the US Atty to argue that ‘I don’t know what she might know’ considering the USA doesn’t have any established ‘need to know’ whatever RW’s knowledge may be.  Unless Solari plans to try Winner for crimes she *might* commit…

  4. greengiant says:

    Just read the document leaked.   A report on August to November 2016 spear phishing activities and catfish email accounts with GRU in the footnotes.  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/3766950-NSA-Report-on-Russia-Spearphishing.html#document/p1   ]

    The power point? chart refers to differences from other spearphishing activities,  with GRU being an “analyst judgement”.   Security markings include FEYE/FISA.    Excuse me if this has been covered before.

    1.  What a nothing burger,  a few liters of smoke and analyst judgement,  except it establishes background for a pre August 2016 narrative.

    2. Those familiar with Shadow Broker, other leaks,  and various signatures of mal actors may see some useful information here,  I don’t know.

    3. That such a nothing burger has FISA on the classification makes me wonder if that is the cause of some the older more tin-foil conspiracies that conflated the FISA court with impending indictments,  ( said indictments no doubt forthcoming after Hillary is in jail for pedophilia since at least Giuliani is on video for that particular conspiracy).

    I doubt Winner has revealed any sources and methods with this.  No bad news for Trump here.  What a circus. Honey pot? false flag honey pot more like it.

     

  5. greengiant says:

    According to “information that became available in April 2017”.   This sounds like a just a single incident report.   Is this the best Winner could get?  Is this a provocation to other leakers since the content is so lame or a bone for Mueller to throw out in a few months with a “nothing to see here move along”.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      Mueller wil be under attack soon. Maybe some attacks next 20 hours, but certainly after Sessions testimony tomorrow.

  6. TruthWinner says:

    The news media is more full of shit than a port-a-potty at the Lollapalooza festival, the gov’t even more so. No one could draw any conclusions whatsoever from that released report; And (as well), the way this is playing out would lead any reasonable person with a firm sense of logic in their head to believe that this girl is being railroaded for the sake of justifying the wasting of more American tax dollars on useless bullshit. What most people don’t seem to understand is that there is a LOT going on underneath the surface that is driving this persecution (notice I didn’t say ‘prosecution’) as well as many many other things that are not in an American Citizen’s best interest.

    “If you don’t read the newspaper, you’re uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you’re misinformed”. ~~Mark Twain (still relevant many many years later)

  7. Richard Steven Hack says:

    This whole thing is a scam – a “false flag” organized by the NSA.

    Since Snowden, we are supposed to believe that a low-level analyst can access highly classified documents entirely outside her area of expertise. Snowden was at least an IT administrator with massive access. This Winner broad was not.

    Plus she prints out the ONE (or TWO) documents which JUST HAPPEN to support the government’s “assessment” that Russia interfered in the US election. But again – with ZERO actual evidence.

    Scott Ritter demolishes that document in his Truthdig article, which I commend everyone to read.
    Leaked NSA Report Is Short on Facts, Proves Little in ‘Russiagate’ Case
    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/leaked_nsa_report_short_on_facts_proves_little_in_russiagate_case_20170607

    Bottom line: Winner is a “Reverse Snowden” – a patsy being used to leak a document the NSA WANTED leaked to support the anti-Russia narrative.

    • SpaceLifeForm says:

      You got it. Others here too. Problem is that not enough of Congress gets it. It is going to drag out slow. Comey gets it.

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