So we have yet another government contractor accused of leaking top secret documents to the media or other persons. In this case, Reality Winner now finds herself arrested and charged. According to media reports, the government narrowed it down to Winner being one of only six who printed out the documents in question and the only one in e-mail contact with the journalist in question. More, the media reports that she has admitted to being the leak. Even so, her attorney says she will plead not guilty and looks forward to her day in court.
Now, tell me this, am I the only one hearing Charlie Sheen in the back of my mind yelling, “Winner!”?
This revelation, if you can call it that, comes on the heels of a discussion I had with someone not long ago about what it means to make and oath and who will actually feel the moral need to stick to said oath.
Every member of the military, every person holding a top secret clearance pledges to uphold their oaths to the United States. The oaths may be different in verbiage but they all come down to one simple premise: the person taking them pledges to act in a certain way. In Winner’s case, she pledged not to violate the trust placed in her by her employer and by the United States not to reveal top secret information without prior authorization. If the media reports are accurate, she not only violated those oaths but she did so willingly and knowingly and has admitted to doing so.
So what is it she is alleged to have leaked?
From what I can tell, she supposedly leaked information that the NSA (or one of the other alphabet agencies) had proof the Russians attempted to hack voter registration rolls shortly before the election. Two things struck me when I heard that. First, that the Russians attempted to hack to rolls. Second, that the information they were after is, at least in Texas, available to any candidate. How do you think you get those targeted phone calls and mailings each election cycle? The candidates can ask for a list of those who voted in the previous election or primary. That gives the candidate not only the voters’ names but much more, including their voting history (limited but yes).
Something else to consider. If the Russians really wanted to influence the election, they would have been doing this much earlier and would have been doing more than “attempting” to hack. After all, early voting now comprises in many states the majority of votes cast. I know that here in Texas, you no longer have to present one of a limited number of statutorily recognized reasons to be allowed to cast an early ballot. Instead, polls are open for approximately 2 weeks prior to the election to allow anyone who wants to avoid the lines on election day the chance to vote.
Now, if the Russians were trying to hack in to see how the vote was going, that’s a different thing. But none of the reports I’ve seen or heard have said that. Even if they were trying to see how the vote was going, it was a too little too late. Unless, of course, they are playing a long game — something that wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
Still, are we ready to admit the Russians understood better what was happening in our country than the Democratic Party’s candidate and long-time politico Hillary Clinton? I don’t know about you but it worries me that a supposed ally, a country we have been at loggerheads with more often than not, might understand our country and our voters more than a woman who was First Lady, senator, Secretary of State and presidential nominee for a major party.
If that was the case, it should be a wake-up call not only to both the Democratic and Republican Parties but to all of us.
But getting back to Reality Winner.
If the evidence proves beyond a reasonable doubt that she did violate her oaths, she should not only be prosecuted but she should feel the full force of the law coming down on her head. Her own political beliefs matter not. Nor does her concern about any particular issue. She pledged to do a certain job and, as part of the job, not to reveal national secrets and she violated that oath. She can’t claim she didn’t know what she was doing. She served six years in the military and held a top secret clearance there. In the private contractors sector she held a similar clearance. She would have been told exactly what that meant and she willingly agreed to uphold the oath.
If she violated it, and it appears she did, she should now pay the consequences.
Of course, this being the day and age where a certain segment of our populace seems to believe themselves above consequences, you can expect to hear them coming to her defense because Trump! or Bush! or whatever.
The time has come to tighten security and to make sure those who violate it and break their oaths learn there are consequences and they will rain down on them and there is no umbrella, figurative or literal, capable of protecting them.