NSA contractor Reality Winner, 25, made headlines in June when she confessed to the FBI that she leaked documents to The Intercept, an online site devoted to left-wing propaganda masquerading as news.
Once the sensitive information was leaked and published, Winner was arrested and confessed. How did this 25-year-old gain access to such sensitive data – and were there any advanced signs that something could go wrong?
A look at who the NSA routinely grants clearance to, and some crazy highlights from Reality Winner’s social media feeds suggests that it may be time to consider updated standards in regards to who we are allowing to handle sensitive data.
Millennials on the Job at the NSA
While the stereotypical image of an NSA employee is a more cloak and dagger spy, or middle-aged analyst, a surprising number of employees are recent college grads.
Granted security clearance at a young age and charged with handling sensitive information, these millennials are hard at work for the National Security Agency. Once they are hired, they are granted security clearance. As an example, Reality Winner was a contractor with the Pluribus International company, and was granted clearance by the NSA to work on site and handle sensitive materials.
“The vast majority of people who do the National Security Agency’s intercept work, who translate and analyze — most of them are fresh out of high school,” according to intelligence historian Matthew Aid, speaking to NBC News. “There are thousands of 18 to 21-year-olds doing critically important and secret work around the world.”
Reality Winner was no different from the average college grad recruit until she took the unprecedented step of releasing sensitive information – or was she? Her social media feeds are still freely available, and paint a picture of an individual with an agenda and some unsettling, deeply held beliefs.
Below are a few stunning examples.
White Skin = Terrorist
According to a Twitter post made by Reality Winner, “being white is terrorism”; she tweeted this statement to rapper Kanye West. She is also an outspoken supporter of Black Lives Matter, and made repeated racially charged posts defining those with white skin as racists, terrorists and worse than ISIS.
While mean spirited and critical tweets are just part of a usual day on Twitter, Reality Winner’s anti-Trump rants included the following gem, including the soon to be president of burning crosses and being a racist:
Why burn a flag? @realDonaldTrump thinks crosses burn much better
— Sara Winners (@Reezlie) November 29, 2016
While anti-Trump tweets are nothing new, some of Winner’s rants are extreme and even confusing:
— Sara Winners (@Reezlie) November 9, 2016
Pollution ‘Harms Minorities Only’
Trumps withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement was more than Winner could handle, leading to another long image based diatribe that claims that pollution targets communities of color and is in fact responsible for many of society’s issues today.
Winner didn’t just post questionable content on Twitter, but on Facebook as well. Several, long, rambling blocks of text packed with social justice buzzwords appear on her feed and include topics like “Apathy is Class Warfare” and blame climate change for political events like the Civil War in Syria.
Like any of us, Reality Winner has a right to free speech and her posts, while crazy, did not break any laws. What is at question is why companies acting as contractors for the NSA grant clearance so casually to such individuals, and don’t even consider the fact that an applicant could have political motivations that could lead to problems.
According to research conducted by CareerBuilder, over 60% of employers now look into an applicant’s social media posts and network as part of the hiring process – but apparently the NSA does not.
Does one of the above posts – or the posts and feeds taken as a whole – present the image of a stable individual who would not reveal sensitive information for political purposes? It may be time for the NSA to revisit their hiring practices and make sure that the young people they are hiring don’t have additional agendas for the sensitive information they handle.
~ Conservative Zone