Why Take Action?
On June 3, 2017 Reality Leigh Winner was jailed for providing the news media with a classified intelligence assessment that called public attention to a threat to our electoral process. The threat was a Spear Phishing Attack targeted at a contractor supplying electronic voting machines for the 2016 presidential election. Many who benefited from the information considered it a public service because it allowed the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to send out an industry standard warnings to the targeted individuals. Protecting the vote and their election equipment was a priority, yet Homeland Security couldn’t warn the contractors because the fact it was happening was classified. I believe it is still classified – yet, thanks to Reality the public has been informed. It is because Winner informed them that they could take defensive measures. The EAC actually hash tagged #RealityWinner when they tweeted that this had been done. Despite this, it is still unclear if any of our votes were actually altered.
We think it is important to help patriotic Americans like Reality Winner.
We believe Reality Winner and other intelligence community public interest whistleblowers can not get a fair trial in America under the antiquated Espionage Act. This law is meant for spies, not Whistleblowers.
Although Reality warned people about a threat to our most fundamental and cherished democratic process, there is no public service defense permitted for Espionage Act cases. This means the Jury is not allowed to see evidence because it is classified, and the judge can limit the actual process of gathering evidence in defense of the plaintiff for what appears to be arbitrary reasoning.
A law meant for spies, and enacted before “classification” even existed is not justice when applied to public interest whistleblowing.
What further complicates things, is that there is no effective whistleblower protections in place for people who work in the intelligence community (IC) because the people who provide oversight are afraid their security clearance will be removed by those they oversee. This creates an untenable circular situation that is further exacerbated by the intentional removal of intelligence professionals from legislation intended to protect whistleblowers because … well, it is “classified”.
There are some people who will say: “Yes! There are effective protections for IC whistleblowers!” In actuality, we who have spent years supporting public interest whistleblowers, some of us whistleblowers ourselves, have not seen this to be the case.
What was the purpose of the Original Espionage Act?
How does spear-phishing work?
The act of spear-phishing may sound simple, but spear-phishing emails have improved within the past few years and are now extremely difficult to detect without prior knowledge. Spear-phishing attackers target victims who put personal information on the internet. They might view individual profiles while scanning a social networking site. From a profile, they will be able to find a person’s email address, friends list, geographic location, and any posts about new gadgets that were recently purchased. With this information, the attacker would be able to act as a friend or a familiar entity and send a convincing but fraudulent message to their target. To increase success rates, these messages often contain urgent explanations on why they need sensitive information. Victims are asked to open a malicious attachment or click on a link. Spear-phishing can also trick people into downloading malware or malicious codes
Other notable whistleblowers you can share using tools under the “Take Action List” so people understand this is more common for IC whistleblowers than they might think:
- To increase public awareness, send people to this page.
- There are many ways to contact reps online. send them information about Reality’s plight
- Democracy IO
- Ask the @ACLU and other Civil Rights organizations or activists for help
- Organize Nationwide Protests on June 3, the anniversary of Reality Winner’s arrest, or anytime you see fit.
- @bjwinnerdavis, @WendyMeer11, @aretvet & @Lizseeds0311 are the main Twitter accounts where the most up to date information can be found & shared. Ask your followers to follow them too, and be sure to retweet and “like” their tweets. Craft supportive tweets and ask those with bigger platforms to echo the pea for #Justice4Reality
- Look around this site or on google and share the stories that move you the most.
- Tag media personalities, friends and family in person or on social media so that they too will be informed.
- Write an Op-Ed in your local paper, or in one of the big names.
- Ask @ACLU and Other Civil Rights Activists for Help… (we have to bring her to their attention more than once.)
- Use the following hashtags when you speak of Reality on your social media profiles: #JusticeForReality #RealityWinner #Whistleblower #FreeRealityWinner #PardonReality
- Go to https://www.aclu.org/general-feedback and ask the ACLU what they are doing for Reality or any whistleblower protections
- If you belong to any Facebook groups, please post about Reality’s plight.
- Find out how to submit an article to your local newspaper or a magazine you read regularly. Most will have the information on their websites or printed in hard copies of their media. And you can always give them a call too. Just write from the heart. You are a citizen who cares – and that is what will resonate.
- Contact House Judiciary, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, Rayburn Staff Office, 2141 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-3951 @HouseJudiciary – send copies to the Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties at the same address
- Contact the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Chairman Adam Schiff, Capitol Visitor Center HVC-304, Washington, D.C. 20515 (202) 225-7690 @RepAdamSchiff
Contact House Judiciary – Counterterrorism Chairman Andre Carson @RepAndreCarson
- Make noise for this persecuted truth-teller until she is free and able to make noise for others once again.