Reality Winner, the NSA government contractor and veteran of the United States Air Force, who was charged with leaking classified top-secret reports and gave it to a news organization, has an interesting background that may show why she committed this act of defying her nation.

Her background appears to not have been the best type of person to hold a top-secret job, but then again, others like her in the past who committed espionage, such as Navy employee Hafis Salich, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, US Navy civilian Jonathan Pollard, CIA officer Aldrich Ames, and the infamous espionage acts of John A.

Walker Jr., to name a few, shouldn’t have either. When Winner was arrested on Monday, June 5, and charged, no one knew who she was other than someone now charged with revealing classified information. Now, the New York Magazine has revealed an intense background of Reality Winner on how she got her name, her persona growing up, and how her mission, as a crypto-linguist lead her to commit such an act while working for the NSA.

Her persona growing up in Texas

Kerry Howley of the New York Magazine stated that Reality was brought up in a manufactured home near a cattle farm a hundred miles just north of the Mexican border. Reality’s mother, Billie, worked for Child Protective Services, which allowed the family to have a steady income, which made Winner and her sisters feel wealthy.Her father, Ronald, came up with her name after he saw someone with a T-shirt that said, “I COACHED A REAL WINNER.

” While her father earned several college degrees, he wanted a success story with his next child and Reality Winner became her name.

A few years after the Islamic terrorist attacks against the Twin Towers in New York on 9/11/2001, her father had passionate conversations about geopolitics with Reality and her sisters and was cautious in distinguishing the difference between the Islamic religion and the radical ideas that promoted terrorism.

From that point on, Reality stated that she learned and from the conversations with her dad, she added, “that the fastest route to conflict resolution is really to understand.” As a result, Reality’s interest in the Arabic language began and she began to study and as time went on, that is how she landed her career in the Air Force and for NSA.

Reality’s Air Force career

Reality had no desire to attend college and was skeptical of academic degrees and as she told Howley, that in her mind, a degree amounted to “100,000 pieces of paper that say you’ve never had a job.” Which according to Howley, was an interesting comment by Reality considering Reality’s fathers held several college degrees as relayed by Reality’s mother.

When Reality was a senior in high school, an Army recruiter came to her school and viewed her as a smart kid and would make her a great recruit and eventually, she took an armed forces assessment exam and since she had done so well, she decided to join the Air Force and as she was getting on the bus to head to basic military training, it was only then that she told her mother that she had applied to engineering school at Texas A&M–Kingsville and was accepted with a full scholarship but turned the offer down.

Reality would spend the next two years becoming fluent in Arabic and she had another year in intelligence training before she was sent to NSA at Fort Meade, Maryland. Throughout this time, she became fluent in another language, Pashto.

During her mission at NSA, working 12-hour shifts, she experienced what many have never experienced, the horrors committed by ISIS and other radical Islamists. During all of this time, she argued with herself, talked to her father, and after a while, she told her mother that she might be experiencing PTSD. After her arrest, she told the FBI that her NSA job was within the drone program and that her job was to translate what she heard and then send that information to drone operators so that they would know who they needed to target.

According to official records, Reality assisted in killing hundreds of insurgents and received a commendation for “assisting in geo-locating 120 enemy combatants during 734 airborne sorties and commended for removing more than one-hundred enemies from the battlefield." She further aided in 650 insurgent captures and 600 insurgents were killed in action.

Honorable discharge and working at NSA as a contractor

Reality was honorably discharged in November 2016 and she left on her own accord as she was not happy that the Air Force was not sending linguists like her into the field of operations. She then wanted to work for an NGO in areas of the world such as in Afghanistan, where she had a desire to help refugees or possibly the Afghan children, but ended up getting a job as a contractor with Pluribus International, a small operation which was owned by the son of a former CIA operative.

She began working in February and did so until June, with the NSA at Fort Gordon in Georgia.

Reality’s criminal act

Reality was making good money working for Pluribus within the NSA, but what propelled her to commit this act was due to the alleged Russian interference with the 2016 Presidential election. Reality was searched for thumb drives, cell phones, and other searches every morning when she reported to her job, but for some reason, those in charge, through visual inspection, over-looked her leg-stockings, which is where she hid the classified document.

For whatever the reason, Reality somehow had access to documents well outside her access and her area of expertise. She had access to a five-page classified document that detailed a Russian attempt to access America’s election infrastructure, though, at the time, was some unknown private software company.

This document was the one that she leaked. It troubled her that the TV screens at NSA Georgia were showing Fox News, she even filed a complaint and then was upset at Georgia’s US Senator, David Purdue, for not wanting to discuss climate change and the Dakota Access Pipeline with her. She also listened to a podcast called “Intercepted,” which was hosted by a left-wing liberal anti-security-state website, called the "Intercepts" by Jeremy Scahill. It also featured Glenn Greenwald, and after she listened to it about the alleged Russian government's attempt to access the presidential election process, she e-mailed them and asked them for a transcript copy of that episode.

Although no real evidence has been found of any Russian interference that would change the outcome of the election between Trump and Clinton, Reality felt that she had that information, classified or not, and she was willing to send that classified document to the "Intercept," thinking she could make a difference.

That selfish act ultimately became her downfall. She was serving with a top-secret clearance and she would have been certain to know that somebody would be listening, but obviously, through her own ignorance, her actions became her ultimate demise… because someone was listening and it was not to her advantage.

The charges against Reality fall under the Espionage Act. The Espionage Act of 1917 was passed on June 15, 1917, shortly after the US entered World War I and throughout the years since, it has been amended numerous times and was originally found in Title 50 of the US Code (War) but is now found under Title 18, Crime. Specifically, it is 18 U.S.C. ch. 37.

Reality’s view of the world, based with her political leanings, the realities of war during the time she served, and assisting in taking out evil on the battlefield, appears to have driven her to commit this act.

Although Reality's views are her own, it does not take away the fact that her criminal action and her selfishness, will be paid… in full.

What you have read, myself having served in the intelligence field with NSA, is my opinion, based on the full, unedited article, by Kerry Howley of the New York Magazine that will appear in the December 25, 2017, issue of New York Magazine.