What local NSA leaker thinks about Trump document allegations

Published: Sep. 15, 2022 at 10:50 AM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. - We’re hearing from the former National Security Agency contractor who spent more than four years in prison after smuggling a document out of Fort Gordon and leaking it to the media.

Reality Winner reflected to NBC News about the same kind of case against former Donald Trump after classified documents were found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Winner pleaded guilty to leaking classified information under the Espionage Act. The document detailed attempts by Russia to meddle in the 2016 presidential election that put Trump in the White House.

Winner pleaded guilty and now lives in Texas working as a CrossFit instructor.

She spoke out on the allegations that Trump mishandled secret government documents. The interview with NBC was her first since the FBI search of Trump’s Florida estate, where the Justice Department says more than 100 classified documents were found.

Watch the full report from NBC News above.

In the interview, Winner admits she broke the law. Asked if she regrets it, she said: ”I regret the pain that it’s done to my family. And I regret betraying the trust of the American people.”

Asked if it was worth it, she said: “No, because to say it was worth it would be to say that committing a felony was worth it.”

She said she’s not surprised by the discovery of the classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

“It wasn’t hard to believe,” she said. “This is a guy who really likes trophies, but I don’t know if he actually had that much thought behind it. I’m not really here to speculate on that.”

However, she said it was “incredibly ironic.” That’s because it was the Department of Justice under Trump that aggressively prosecuted her. She thinks she was made an example of.

But she has a view that may surprise some.

Based on the evidence released so far by the Justice Department, she doesn’t believe Trump should go to prison.

Winner says the World War I Espionage Act – which she was prosecuted under and that former president Trump is being investigated under – is vague, political and often weaponized.

“It’s incredibly inconsistent,” she said. “It changes from district to district.”