Political News

Accused leaker Reality Winner criticized Trump on Twitter

Posted June 6

The federal contractor accused of leaking classified information to an online news outlet regarding a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack complained about the Trump administration and posted about leaks on what appears to be her public Twitter account.

Reality Leigh Winner, 25, was employed as a contractor with Pluribus International Corp., a government facility in Georgia from around February 13, according to an affidavit supporting her arrest. Her Twitter activity dropped significantly after that date.

The Justice Department announced charges Monday against Winner. She is accused of leaking classified information, used as the basis for an article The Intercept published Monday, detailing a classified National Security Agency memo.

Twitter account under Sara Winners

Winner posted on Twitter as Sara Winners but didn't seem too concerned with concealing her true identity. Her profile picture is a photo of herself, and she posted a selfie in February.

She also uses her Twitter username @Reezlie on Instagram; however, her activity on the two platforms differed dramatically. On Instagram, she primarily posted selfies from the gym and pictures of food, while on Twitter she rarely posted about herself, focusing more on politics -- behavior not uncommon for people who use both social networks.

Accounts she follows

Winner follows 50 Twitter accounts, among them Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks, several with links to the group Anonymous and "alt" government agency accounts that became popular after President Donald Trump's inauguration, including AltFDA. None of the accounts appear to be personal connections.

Anti-Trump

Winner didn't hide her disdain for Trump. On Election Night, when it became apparent that Trump would win, she tweeted, "Well. People suck. #ElectionNight"

On February 11, she was particularly active on the social network, tweeting directly at the President, describing him as an "orange fascist."

Winner didn't appear to post explicitly about hacking or leaking but did retweet and like several tweets on the topic.

She "liked' a tweet from the hacking group Anonymous in November that hinted at hacking a Mac computer the then-President-elect was using.

Winner also favorited a February 15 tweet linking to an article about White House press secretary Sean Spicer's reported lax approach to his personal data security and also liked a WikiLeaks tweet linking to a Wall Street Journal reported headlined, "Spies Keep Intelligence From Donald Trump on Leak Concerns."

'Alt' accounts

She follows several "rogue" Twitter accounts designed to look like they are run by federal agencies. Many of these accounts claim to be run by agency employees unhappy with the Trump administration.

She retweeted a post in January from the "Rogue NASA" account that attempted to explain why such accounts were becoming more popular.

Winner's Twitter activity slowed in mid-February, and the last time she appeared to tweet before her arrest Saturday was on March 5, when she tweeted at Anonymous, "what happened to the Feb 28th call for Trump to resign?"

Her mother, Billie Winner, said her daughter wasn't especially political and had not praised past leakers such as Snowden to her. "She's never ever given me any kind of indication that she was in favor of that at all," her mother said. "I don't know how to explain it."

Her court-appointed attorney, Titus Nichols, told CNN he was unable to confirm on Tuesday the Twitter account was Winner's.

Earlier, he said he believes the government has a political agenda by going after his client, whom he says is a low-level government employee. Nichols said he hasn't seen anything that would lead him to believe Winner is guilty of these charges.

CNN has reached out to Pluribus International to ask if it was aware of Winner's Twitter account.

Comments

Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all