Reality Winner Sentenced to More than 5 Years in Prison for Leaking Classified Information

reality winner
Lincoln County (Ga.) Sheriff's Office via AP

A judge sentenced former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Reality Winner to more than five years in federal prison Thursday for leaking classified information on Russian interference during the 2016 presidential election.

The judge sentenced Winner, 26, to 63 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release after she pleaded guilty in June to passing along the classified NSA report to the left-wing news site The Intercept in 2016.

Winner, who had already served two years in jail, will receive credit for time served.

The judge’s sentence took into account recommendations from prosecutors and Winner’s defense team that the former government contractor serve five years and three months in prison.

Winner’s sentence is reportedly “the longest sentence served by a federal defendant for an unauthorized disclosure to the media,” prosecutors stated in a court filing.

The 26-year-old government contractor was arrested in June 2017 and faced charges in federal court under the Espionage Act for taking classified material from a U.S. government facility and mailing the information to a media outlet.

Her arrest was announced shortly after the left-of-center investigative news site posted a story about how Russian hackers sent “spear-phishing” emails to hundreds of local election officials and attacked a U.S. voting software supplier.

Winner, who held a top-secret clearance in her work for defense contractor Pluribus International Corporation, once tweeted that “being white is terrorism” and posted disparaging remarks about President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In several social media posts, she called the president an “orange fascist” and called Sessions a “Confederate general” who encourages racism.

The left-wing activist also reportedly backed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election and followed NSA leaker Edward Snowden on Twitter.


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