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Judge Denies Bail to Alleged NSA Leaker Reality Winner, Citing Her Admiration for Snowden & Assange

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Last Thursday, a federal judge denied a second request for bail from Reality Winner, the former National Security Agency contractor who is accused of violating the Espionage Act. Winner allegedly passed a top-secret document to The Intercept that claimed Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before the 2016 election. Federal Judge Brian Epps of Augusta, Georgia, said his decision to deny bail was based in part on social media comments by Winner that she “admires Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.”

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Transcript
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Chelsea Manning is out of jail. And Chelsea Manning was a very important figure for you, and you campaigned for her release. I wanted to end by asking you about Reality Winner. Last Thursday, a federal judge denied a second request for bail for Reality Winner, the former NSA, National Security [Agency], contractor who was accused of violating the Espionage Act. Winner allegedly passed a top-secret document to The Intercept that claimed that Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before the 2016 election. Federal Judge Brian Epps of Augusta, Georgia, said his decision to deny bail was based in part on social media comments by Winner that she, quote, “admires Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.” We’ve just lost the video of Julian, but I think we still have audio. And, Julian, I was wondering if you can respond to the judge? We have your audio.

JULIAN ASSANGE: So, your question was about that bail was denied to Reality Winner, partly under the basis that she is alleged to have said, I believe to her sister, on Facebook that she supported Edward Snowden, me and WikiLeaks. Is that correct?

AMY GOODMAN: Yes, the judge talking about her admiration of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange.

JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, I mean, it’s a political decision by the judge. I think she has been treated absolutely appallingly. Absolutely appallingly. And her alleged act is very minimal. One alleged document, which she unfortunately sent to a distrustworthy or incompetent journalist at The InterceptThe Intercept is a great publication. I admire them very much. But if they don’t fire the person responsible, it brings enormous distrust and discredit on them.

Yeah, look, she is a working-class whistleblower. She is not a whistleblower—she is not a leaker or a whistleblower who has access to power. And so, as a result, we see what happens to her. She goes to prison, where—even in pretrial detention, is clearly not of harm to anyone. It’s come out that the FBI faked a transcript of hers, where she said she had acquired more than one document. It turns out that that was fake. And they’ve used that to keep her in prison.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, Julian Assange, I want to thank you very much for being with us, founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. More than 50—I want to thank you so much for joining us. Julian Assange joins us from the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he has taken asylum, had political asylum in Ecuador for the last five-and-a-half years. How he gets out of that embassy remains to be seen.

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