AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)– Neighbors told NewsChannel 6 they had no idea Reality Winner lived near them until today. Much like national reaction to this case, locals are either for or against Winner’s controversial decision to leak classified information.
“She was kind of a gutsy woman, I guess,” Rudy Volkmann, neighbor, said.
Volkmann has lived on Battle Row since 1987– just three houses down from where Winner lives.
“She kept to herself. I don’t know if any of the neighbors actually knew her. Nothing big ever happens on this street except the cars go too fast,” Volkmann added.
That all changed when the 25-year-old National Security Agency contractor, who is also an Air Force Veteran, was accused of leaking classified information.
“You’re working at N.S.A. making all this good money, and you got all this information that you shouldn’t leak out, whether you feel like it’s right or not. You shouldn’t have leaked it out like that,” Christopher Brinson, a neighbor, said.
“It’s classified. She shouldn’t be talking about it. You’re putting folks in danger when you leak that stuff, and honestly, the government has been letting it go on for a long time,” Timothy Smith, the neighborhood handyman, said.
Brinson and Smith said Winner over-stepped boundaries… But Volkmann has one question.
“The Russians are hacking our country’s voting machines, and the government is keeping it quiet. When do you suppose they were going to let us know? She’s in a tough spot. I don’t know that she chose the best way going about what she did. I think she decided that the American people needed to know what was happening, and that was her way of doing it I guess,” Volkmann said.
Neighbors agreed the journalists who published the information should be held just as accountable as Reality Winner.