June 8, 2017

Understanding the Loser’s Damage

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 11:42 am

winner booking mugshotWith her arrest on June 3, 2017, by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, former US Air Force linguist and now former NSA contractor employee Reality Leigh Winner joins the recent list of brotherhood/sisterhood/undecidedhood traitors which includes Bradley/Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, and Hillary Clinton.    At least initially, Winner has been charged with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a self-proclaimed news organization in violation of 18 U.S.C. Section 793(e).

The classified material Winner has been charged with unlawfully removing was produced by a member of the US Intelligence Community.  She allegedly caused the material to be delivered to a website identifying itself as The Intercept_.   The Intercept_’s website proclaims itself to be “… an award-winning news organization that covers national security, politics, civil liberties, the environment, international affairs, technology, criminal justice, the media, and more. ”   In turn, The Intercept_ published an online article entitled Top-Secret NSA Report Details Russian Hacking Effort Days Before 2016 Election.  The online article links to the redacted but still classified five-page report.   Exposing national security information publicly does not automatically declassify the information.

It is possible and maybe likely that Winner’s defense attorney will try to understate the actual damage done to the national security caused by her alleged disclosure of the Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information.  He may assert that some or most or maybe even all of the information in the report was already in the public domain.  He may even assert that federal officials had lawfully revealed it to various secretaries of state prior to the 2016 election so state election officials could closely examine their election hardware and software and take appropriate countermeasures to protect the integrity of the 2016 election.  If he does raise that as one defense theory, he might be partially correct.

Except …

Our US Intelligence Community seeks out, analyzes, and authenticates potential threats to the United States.   To the greatest extent possible, it determines the magnitude and quality of threats actually posed.  When neccesary to counteract the expected effects of a threat posed, the IC then prepares and releases timely, accurate, and appropriately complete finished intelligence to persons who have a need to know that information to perform their duties.  As noted above, that could include persons not specifically authorized and cleared to receive classified national security information.

So does that mean, for example, that Kootenai County elections officials would not receive essential information developed by the IC about how voting equipment and software can be compromised?  Or does it mean that the Spokane Explosives Disposal Unit would not learn about foreign terrorist techniques used to conceal explosives devices?

No.  The IC members work very hard to ensure that otherwise uncleared persons receive the sanitized information they need to do their jobs.

The key word is ‘sanitized.’   In intelligence-speak, ‘sanitized’ broadly refers to information from which authorized officials, usually the agency originally classifying the material,  have removed any and all information which the specific intended recipient does not need to do his job.  In order to be provided with the tested and approved countermeasure and install it, local officials do not need to know anything about the intelligence sources and methods that went into the report published by The Intercept_.

Which brings us to Reality Leigh Winner.

Some people will likely ask, “What was the harm in her releasing the report?  Shouldn’t elections officials have been given that information?”  The second question’s answer needs to come first, because it better leads into the answer to the first question.

Yes, the elections officials should have received through appropriate channels some of the information sanitized from the classified report.  (Maybe they did.)  They needed sanitized information to identify and correct issues associated with their particular voting equipment and software.    Under no circumstances did they need any of the other information in the report to perform their duties as elections officials.  Morbid curiosity does not establish need-to-know.

And it was in the information that could not and should not be sanitized and released that Winner’s alleged actions may have gravely damaged the national security.  If nothing else, Winner’s alleged unauthorized retrieval, reproduction, and delivery of that report to the journo-whores at The Intercept_  and its subsequent publication by them gave the Russian GRU not just insight but official confirmation of knowledge held by the IC.   The GRU now has a better idea of what the IC knows and doesn’t know about the GRU’s efforts to influence US elections, an effort that has been going on since at least the early 1950’s.   That makes our national counterintelligence efforts to safeguard the integrity of elections much more difficult.

ADDENDUM on 06-08-2017 at 19:25 PDTReality Winner Indictment


  1. It will be interesting to see how Comey pans out with his own admission of leaking his memo to the NYT through his friend in order to avoid a seagull feeding frenzy.

    Comment by Stebbijo — June 8, 2017 @ 9:27 pm

  2. Stebbijo,

    The takeaway message from Comey’s self-serving release of unclassified information to Sulzberger’s Slimes at the New York Times is not a good one. Apparently Comey had come to realize just how politicized Main Justice had become, so he felt the best opportunity to get a truly independent special counsel appointed would be to engineer external public pressure for one rather than trying to penetrate the impenetrable sludge layer at Main Justice. By his own admission, he lacked the courage to do it himself, instead choosing to use an intermediary to manipulate Sulzberger’s Slimes at the New York Times to do his dirty work. His lack of courage also reveals his own lack of confidence in our supposed justice system that rightfully jails traitors like Bradley/Chelsea Manning and former FBI Special Agent turned spy Robert Philip Hanssen while allowing more politically and financially connected ones like members of the Clinton Crime Family to walk on board the Attorney General’s aircraft, talk with AG Lynch, then escape prosecution.

    See my OpenCdA post dated September 11, 2016, entitled Deep Throat, Ver. 2.0? .

    Comment by Bill — June 9, 2017 @ 6:23 am

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