Why wasn’t there a Bond girl named ‘Reality Winner?’

Reality Leigh Winner, from her Instagram page.

Reality Leigh Winner, from her Instagram page.

“Who is Reality Winner?” is today’s most popular headline. Here are versions of that story from:

Her own self-description on her Instagram page simply says, “I lift, I eat, I have a cat.” That’s followed by lots of pictures of herself lifting weights, of food, and occasionally of a cat (although at first glance, there seem to be more dog than cat pictures).

Me, I’m just impressed that there’s someone at the center of a spy story with such a perfect Bond girl name, the sort that might cause James himself to say, “I must be dreaming.” First Anna Chapman (“From Russia with Va-va-VOOM!”), now this.

But I thought it was kind of odd that most of the coverage this morning was about her being charged with the NSA leak. I sort of thought the bigger news (and maybe this was played up bigger last night when I wasn’t paying attention) was what she had revealed:

Russian intelligence agents hacked a US voting systems manufacturer in the weeks leading up to last year’s presidential election, according to the Intercept,citing what it said was a highly classified National Security Agency (NSA) report.

The revelation coincided with the arrest of Reality Leigh Winner, 25, a federal contractor from Augusta, Georgia, who was charged with removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet.

The hacking of senior Democrats’ email accounts during the campaign has been well chronicled, but vote-counting was thought to have been unaffected, despite concerted Russian efforts to penetrate it.

Russian military intelligence carried out a cyber-attack on at least one US voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than a hundred local election officials days before the poll, the Intercept reported on Monday….

You know how a lot of sticklers (particularly of the pro-Trump sort) have protested that it’s wrong to say the Russians “hacked the election,” when they didn’t actually break into our polling system, but just hacked party emails and leaked them and let the chips fall?

Which was true, which is why “hacked the election” was never the best way to say it.

Until now.

Oh, and by the way, it wasn’t some hacker “artist” operating on his own initiative, the way Putin tried to suggest the other day (channeling Trump with his “400-pound hacker“). This was the GRU

15 thoughts on “Why wasn’t there a Bond girl named ‘Reality Winner?’

  1. Doug Ross

    So now you’re a fan of people who leak classified information? Usually you want to kill the messenger.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Where did I say I was a fan? I said absolutely nothing suggesting that. She needs to be prosecuted.

      Of course, she’s far less contemptible than Snowden. First, what she did was tiny and by no means caused the damage he did. Snowden engaged in a massive effort to cripple U.S. intelligence-gathering operations.

      Then, she made no effort to escape justice, rather than running off to hide behind the Russians.

      Still, she did not have the right to do what she did.

      I love the name, though, and I thought y’all would, too…

  2. Brad Warthen Post author

    Aw, come on — NOBODY got a kick out of somebody named “Reality Winner” being involved in a spy case? NO ONE thought it smacked of Holly Goodhead, Molly Warmflash, Tiffany Case, May Day, Jenny Flex or Honey Rider — only cooler?

    DANG, Uncle Jed!

    The whole reason I wrote this post was because I Tweeted this this morning:

    … and didn’t get a single reTweet, and so I thought I’d try again.


    Was it my timing? My delivery? What?

    Or… did everybody think cracking wise about the name of a person in a serious news story was, you know, childish?

    Nah, that couldn’t be it…

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Actually, since she’s a weight lifter, perhaps it makes more sense to compare her to Bambi and Thumper.

      By the way, about half the time, you can see all or most of the Bond movies on Amazon Prime, and about half the time they cut you off.

      It’s really frustrated me that since Roger Moore died, not only of his Bond films has been available free on Prime.

      Can you tell how much that’s bugging me?

      1. Brad Warthen

        Sometimes, I’ll get dozens of retweets on something I don’t think is very good. Then when I think I have something FUN, it lies there like a dead fish.

        The Twitterverse is fickle…

        From the moment I heard that name on the radio in my car, I could hardly WAIT to get someplace where I could use my iPad. But boy, did I miss the boat.

        Sometimes you’re hot; sometimes you’re not.

  3. scout

    Personally I’m just catching up. I heard about this last night, but I missed that this was her name. So this is her real actual name? Not a screen name or a nick name? If so, that is just weird.

  4. Mark Stewart

    I was struck by the name in relation to Trump. He says “fake news” and he is reality; and he thinks he is a winner. She may have turned out to have the prophetic name.

    How much has this whacked Trump’s id? His one thread of credibility was that he won the electoral college. We aren’t to a place to even suggest there was Russian interference in electoral results; but we are clearly headed toward giving Trump’s win an asterisk in the history books.

    And maybe a whole lot more.

      1. Brad Warthen

        You mention his id. This guy’s half id, half ego. But near as I can tell, no superego at ALL…

        1. Mark Stewart

          I wouldn’t say Trump operates at even 25% ego. And that still sounds like a stretch.

          Ego used here being very different from Trump’s ecstatic egoism which is so tirelessly on display in him.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You’re right. I wasn’t using “ego” in the Freudian sense. Freud said the ego helps mediate between the id and superego, and if you don’t have a superego, what’s the ego for?

            I also wonder to what extent Trump has a strong ego in the popular, everyday sense. His ego seems so fragile. It’s so easy to set him off with the slightest affront, and he doesn’t get over it…

  5. Bart

    Anyone with a true ego will always believe they know best and hold a high opinion of any and everything they do. A true ego is not easily bruised and needs no assuaging if challenged, they simply move on and generally say nothing which to them is the ultimate “burn”. But, anyone with a false ego will “think” they know best, hold a tenable high opinion of any and everything they do but if challenged, they will strike back with a vengeance. They will go to any lengths to defend their position and maintain their air of invincibility and superiority. In other words, they are the first person they lie to and the first person to believe and defend their lies. Of course this is from a couch psychologist’s observation based on 73 years on this earth.

    Trump is a man without a true ego, he is as fragile as they come but he has been able to bluff his way through life because he has never had to worry about money or position, it was his birthright handed to him by his father. And a person without a true ego will always go after the weaker, never the stronger. Trump has never challenged anyone he believed to be stronger.

    And that should say something about the slate of candidates the Republicans fielded in 2015 & 2016. One of the weakest slate ever for the Republican party. Trump sensed they were weaker and knew he could bully, beat down, and out shout any and everyone on the podium during the so-called debates.

    Now that he is facing world leaders on the world stage and opponents at home who see him for who he is and there is blood in the water, Trump may survive and may last the full four years but in the end, his lacking in all areas will be extremely harmful to this country. All we can do is hope the damage can be repaired by electing a good leader in 2020.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      We can’t wait for 2020. Look at the damage Trump has done to our standing and relationships in the world in just the last few days, since his trip abroad.

      First, there was his failure to commit to THE critical factor with NATO, article 5. Then the Paris bailout (and just read the idiotic things he said in doing that). Look at the damage he’s done just with a stupid, ignorant Tweet or two on the extremely delicate Qatar situation. Look at his gross, thoughtless, even cruel Twitter feud with the mayor of London, the grieving capital city of our greatest ally in the world.

      We can’t go on like this. We just can’t…


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