Suspect in NSA leak being held in Lincolnton jail


Lincolnton -- The Augusta woman who has been arrested in the National Security Agency leak investigation is being held at a small county jail here, about 40 miles northwest of Augusta. 

An Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter spotted Reality Leigh Winner Wednesday afternoon as she was standing in an outdoor area of the Lincoln County Jail. She was pacing in the fenced-in area, wearing an orange jumpsuit. 

Winner, 25, is receiving three meals a day and has access to a phone to call her family, said Sheriff Bruce Beggs. A doctor is on call and a nurse comes twice a day, partly to dispense medication. 

“As far as I know, she is fine,” Beggs said. “We have not had any problems.” 

Winner has been charged with sending to the news media a classified government report about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. Justice Department announced her arrest Monday, about an hour after The Intercept reported that it had obtained a top-secret NSA report about Russia’s interference. The intelligence report, according to The Intercept, says Russian military intelligence officials tried to hack into the U.S. voting system just before last November’s election. 

RELATED: Documents, computers seized from home of Augusta contractor

RELATED: Augusta contractor charged with mishandling top-secret U.S. materials  

IN-DEPTH: Augusta at center of NSA leak investigation

Beggs would not permit The AJC to see inside the jail, citing security concerns. But he gave an AJC reporter a tour of the brick facility from the outside. 

Originally built in 1991, the jail can hold up to 90 detainees. Of the 50 who were being held there Wednesday, fewer than 15 were women, Beggs said. Men and women are separated from each other in the jail, which includes medium and maximum security wings. The federal government reimburses the jail for holding and transporting its detainees. On average, two-thirds of those being held there are facing federal charges. 

“They get served decent meals,” said Beggs, a Lincolnton native and a veteran of the Lincoln Sheriff’s Office. “They get adequate medical care.” 

Beggs said he has received up to 20 phone calls from reporters from across the country about Winner’s case. 

“I don’t know anything about her background,” he said, “or really what she is charged with.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Police investigating alleged molestation of 5-year-old boy at Roswell camp
Police investigating alleged molestation of 5-year-old boy at Roswell camp

Roswell police are investigating after a 5-year-old boy was allegedly assaulted by two children at a day camp hosted by the Roswell Recreation and Parks Department, Channel 2 Action News reported. The investigation began when a the boy complained to his mother about discomfort after he arrived home from the camp one day last week. The mother took her...
TUESDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Temps expected to reach 92 — and it will feel even hotter
TUESDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Temps expected to reach 92 — and it will feel even hotter

Tuesday: High: 92 Tuesday night: Low: 72 Wednesday: High: 93 As summer nears, temperatures in the low 90s could feel close to 100 degrees as the day drags on Tuesday, Channel 2 Action News reported.  Commuters can expect a sunny and dry drive Tuesday morning, but they could be sweating by noon, when temperatures reach the mid-80s. Atlanta...
Court disbars lawyer who represented Atlanta art collector
Court disbars lawyer who represented Atlanta art collector

A protracted legal battle that ensnared a veteran lawyer, a trailblazing Atlanta art collector and prized works by a legendary Southern folk artist drew to a close Monday with the state Supreme Court disbarring the attorney from ever practicing law again. The court, by a 5-4 ruling, disbarred Gary Coulter for “exceptionally serious” violations...
Jimmy Carter’s shoes, wine and paintings will go to highest bidder
Jimmy Carter’s shoes, wine and paintings will go to highest bidder

An upcoming auction to benefit the Carter Center includes presidential memorabilia such as a lock of President John F. Kennedy’s hair and original paintings by President Jimmy Carter. The items aren’t all presidency-related, though. The July 30 auction also includes experiences such as a one-week stay at a home in Saint-Remy-de-Provence...
Potential jurors unfamiliar with notorious Spalding murder
Potential jurors unfamiliar with notorious Spalding murder

Heather Coggins has waited 35 years for her uncle to get justice. So when a shortage of potential jurors threatened to delay the murder trial for the man accused of killing him, she made an hour-long drive to Spalding County to be sure the trial was still on schedule. When only 127 of 325 summoned potential jurors answered their summons, the judge...
More Stories