June 9 (UPI) -- Reality Winner, a government contractor accused of leaking classified government information, pleaded not guilty in an Augusta, Ga., federal court.
A judge denied bond to Winner, 25, in the detention hearing on Thursday. Prosecutors argued foreign entities could recruit Winner if she was released on bail.
Winner served as a commendation-winning cryptologic language analyst in the U.S. Air Force from 2010 to 2016, providing support to U.S. military missions. She recently was a contractor for Pluribus International Corp. in Augusta. She was charged with one count of leaking classified information, regarding a 2016 cyberattack by Russian military intelligence. Prosecutors said she may be arraigned on additional charges.
The information Winner is accused of leaking was the basis for an article published Monday by the news website The Intercept. The article analyzed a classified National Security Agency memo, dated May 5, in which the NSA detailed a cyberattack on a U.S. voting software supplier. The Intercept provided a copy of its article to the NSA, reporting later that it did not know the identity of the person who provided the research.
The charge, willful retention and transmission of national defense information, could bring Winner up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 if she is found guilty.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Solari said authorities are searching Winner's property for additional evidence. Two laptop computers, four cellphones and several spiral-bound notebooks were seized from Winner's Augusta home. In court, Solari said Winner, while in the Air Force, used a computer at work to search for an answer to "Do top secret computers detect when flash drives are inserted?" and added that a notebook entry reads "I want to burn the White House down."
Prosecutors also said a flash drive that Winner allegedly inserted in a top secret computer is missing; that she told her sister by telephone that she would portray herself in court as "pretty, white and cute" and that she instructed family members to transfer $30,000 from an account to one of her mother's, to more easily obtain a court-appointed attorney.
Winner also posted criticisms of President Donald Trump on a Twitter account, prosecutors said.