As the case of the accused NSA leaker in Augusta moves forward, WSB learns that in the interest of 'national security,' we may never know what Reality Winner saw. Winner, a 25-year-old National Security Agency federal contractor with top secret security clearance and a specialty in linguistics, is facing a single charge in connection with mailing a news website (The Intercept) a classified document that details one of the ways Russia tried to hack the U. S. election systems in order to help Donald Trump win. The cyberattack came just days before the November election day. The document says that Russian military intelligence (the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate) targeted a voting software manufacturer, then sent voter-registration-themed phishing e-mails to more than 100 elections officials. Winner was in court for a status conference on Tuesday, June 27. Her parents, who live in Texas, were not at the hearing. Government prosecutors say some of the evidence from Winner's home and office is so sensitive, the judge and Winner's lawyers will have to get security clearances just to be on the case to see the classified documents. Atlanta criminal defense attorney Steve Sadow, not tied to this case, was granted such a security clearance years ago. He says the FBI screens the attorneys and the people working with them to make sure that they are not a risk of disclosure in terms of extortion or blackmail that a foreign power or other entity could use against them. 'Let's say the attorney has a history of drug use, or gambling problems, or things that have come up in the questions involving the Trump administration and Michael Flynn. “Things that might give rise to a blackmailer in which the attorney is told, 'If you don't reveal information which is confidential to the government foreign entity, we will disclose information about your background or your activities, which may subject you to criminal prosecution or you may use the right to practice law,'' explains Sadow. 'The government doesn't want to take that chance.' Sadow agrees that it is essentially putting your entire personal and professional life under a microscope. 'I can remember they asked some of my best friends – because they asked for information about people that they could contact – they wanted to know whether I was the kind of person that could be blackmailed, or extorted, or did I have anything in my history that would give rise to government concerns,' says Sadow. 'I'm assuming the same thing is taking place with the case in Augusta.' Once the screenings are done and Winner's lawyers, Titus Nichols and John Bell, and federal judge Brian Epps, have clearances, Sadow says the defense cannot be afraid to step on toes. “The defense attorney needs to be willing to put himself on the line and aggressively take on the government, because in a case of this nature, the government's goal here is to set an example so that other people don't do this,” says Sadow. 'The attorney has got to push the envelope. Sometimes that puts into play something called ‘graymail’.' To listen to a clip from Veronica Waters’ interview with Steve Sadow, click HERE. Judge Brian Epps has installed a classified information security officer (CISO) in Winner's leak case who will help with any motions or orders connected to the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA). The CISO is meant to help prevent “graymail”, in which a defendant tries to leverage a better position or get charges dropped by threatening to expose more confidential government information. Sadow says that is why the CISO is a de-facto censor, essentially helping the prosecution. “That person serves the role of making sure, to be perfectly candid, that nothing the government doesn’t like gets out into the public without the government having had the opportunity to go into court and - I say - ‘b**** about it’ before it gets released,” Sadow says. Sadow adds that because the government wants to make an example of Winner, they will work to control what the public can see, and what the defense can say. “No one is suggesting that the information that’s been disclosed isn’t something the public is interested in or should’ve known about,” Sadow explains. “What the government is saying is, ‘Wait. We didn’t make the decision to disclose it, and even though maybe the public should’ve known – that’s our call, not her call.’” And with things being so secret, says Sadow, 'The public hasn't got a clue about what really is going on because it's been censored.' The government has seized Winner's computers, mobile phones, and notebooks. There is also a note pad with handwriting in Farsi that they are translating, says the prosecution. Court papers also reveal that they have recovered more classified documents from Winner that are not tied to what she allegedly mailed. They have not said whether these are documents that she had access to in her job. Sadow says a judge or a lawyer without a lot of experience in classified cases could find themselves being led along by what the government contends is 'standard' in these types of instances. “The defense has to push that ‘graymail’,” Sadow says. “That may get him into an adversarial situation with the court, with the prosecution. “The attorney has really got to stand his or her ground because if not, under CIPA, and the way these classified information cases are worked, the defendant and his lawyer wind up getting stampeded.” Sadow adds, “They just become afraid to take on the government and whenever a defense attorney’s in that posture, they need to get out of the case.” Winner has pleaded not guilty to a sole charge of 'willful retention and transmission of national defense information.' In a June 8 hearing, Judge Epps denied her bond. In that hearing, a prosecutor said that during her time in the Air Force, Winner put a flash drive into a secure computer in what appeared to be a dry run of sorts, having searched the Internet for information on what happens when you put a flash drive into a classified computer system. The location of that flash drive, or whether anything is on it, is a mystery to prosecutors and a stated concern of Judge Epps' when denying her bail. Attorneys agreed to have all of the evidence discovery filed by August 25. The court is also looking for a place to store the classified information securely. Winner's tentative trial date is October 23. If convicted, Winner faces up to 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines, plus up to three years of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.