June 9, 2017 Lincolnton - Exterior of Lincoln County Jail located about 40 miles northwest of Augusta, where Reality Leigh Winner is being held on Friday, June 9, 2017. U.S. Magistrate Judge Brian Epps denied her release on bond Thursday. Winner is being held at a small county jail here, about 40 miles northwest of Augusta. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

NSA leak case to paint two portraits of Reality Winner

Is Reality Winner some idealist, upset about the 2016 election and the direction of her country, who leaked classified material she felt the nation needed to know? Or is she, as the government contends, a potential threat to national security?

Those opposing views of Winner, a 25-year-old intelligence contractor and Air Force veteran, could be at the center of the first leak prosecution under the Trump Administration.

Legal experts say federal prosecutors will want to make an example of Winner, who is accused of leaking a top secret report about Russian meddling in the election. The case comes in an era where rampant leaks have angered President Donald Trump and damaged his presidency.

Winner, meanwhile, will be fighting for her freedom.

Subscribers to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution get exclusive stories on the NSA leak case that can’t be found elsewhere. Read “Accused NSA leaker may be treated harshly as an example,” on the subscriber website, MyAJC.com.

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