Pardons

Imprisoned Leaker Reality Winner Seeks Mercy From Trump

She’s nearly three years into a five-year sentence for releasing classified documents showing Russian attempts to hack U.S. election systems.

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A young woman who was arrested and convicted by the Trump administration's Department of Justice for leaking details about Russian attempts to hack American election systems is now asking President Donald Trump to commute her five-year sentence.

Reality Winner, 25, was arrested in June 2017 after the feds tracked her down as the source of a report published by The Intercept showing that hackers connected to the Russian government attempted to infiltrate an election systems company based in Florida.

The report contained classified information from the National Security Agency (NSA). Winner saw herself as a whistleblower alerting the public about the extent of Russian meddling in the 2016 election. At the time of her leak, there was much less public info about the extent of hacking attempts, and her arrest came about a year before the Department of Justice would actually indict Russian operatives with hacking into the computer networks of the Democratic National Committee and attempting to hack state election systems. Nothing Winner leaked linked Trump or anybody in Trump's campaign with these Russian efforts.

Winner was denied bail and in 2018 accepted a plea deal for five years in federal prison, the harshest sentence ever handed down to a civilian who leaked info to the media.

On Monday, Winner's legal team announced that they're asking Trump to let her out. Winner's mom says Winner is "losing hope" and is not getting any treatment for her bulimia or anorexia. In the clemency petition (posted by The Intercept and readable here), it notes that she didn't work with a foreign power or conspire against her country; her "disclosure didn't jeopardize the security or safety of human lives or strategic information"; and she didn't seek any compensation for providing the report. She only wanted to inform the public. She has so far served 33 months out of a 63-month sentence.

NBC notes that Trump had previously tweeted that he thought Winner's sentence was "so unfair," but the real purpose of that tweet was to needle then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for failing to go after Hillary Clinton. It wasn't really an indication that Trump actually cared about what happened to Winner.

Winner is obviously not some sort of threat or danger to the public and there's no reason to keep her imprisoned. Today the White House announced four pardons or commutations:

  • Trump pardoned former San Francisco 49ers owner Edward DeBartolo Jr., who was convicted in 1998 in a corruption scandal in Louisiana where then-Gov. Edwin Edwards had demanded $400,000 from DeBartolo in exchange for a riverboat gambling license.
  • Trump commuted the sentence former Democratic Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, currently serving 14 years for political corruption. He has served eight years so far. The commutation will free Blagojevich but keep his conviction intact.
  • Trump also pardoned famous 1980s "junk bond king" Michael Milken, who was convicted for securities fraud, and pardoned former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, who was convicted for tax fraud.

Why not include Winner in the group? It's particularly galling to have her sitting in federal prison given that the Justice Department is unlikely to ever get its hands on the Russian government operatives charged with actually attempting the hacking.

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  1. “Why not include Winner in the group?”

    It’s a fair point, but the ease with which she could have been an actual whistleblower, instead of simply presenting that as her defense when she was caught, makes me not care all that much.

    If maybe she said something like” yeah I was obviously and farcically lying about being a whistleblower, when I was actually just engaging in political operations” then she might get a more positive response. However, since she keeps lying, she can finish her bit.

    1. Yeah, you guys would totally respect her for being a whistle blower. Get fucking real. You all would claim she was a deep state operuhtiv bent on spreading communism by making Trump’s election victory (which was granted by Jesus) seem illegitimate.

      1. Her and Manning are useless shits. Snowden is a whistleblower.

        1. Fuck manning, but RW’s leak had public value as well. Snowden is a hero.

          1. Reality’s leak was bullshit. Snowden is a hero. As is Assange.

            1. It’s all completely beside the point. She lost. Her case was adjudicate and she was deemed not to be a whistleblower. You don’t get clemency by insisting they got it wrong.

              1. You get clemency by anything that the clemency granting party thinks justifies clemency.

            2. How can you say that Assange is a hero but Manning is a “useless shit”, when Assange got his information from Manning?

          2. All the more reason to actually be a whistleblower instead of a political operative masquerading as one to avoid punishment.

        2. The NSA spies on mass on US citizens, soviet KGB style. According to the constitution, it is illegal to do so. So why are they no being charged by the justice department for crimes against US citizens? Because the justice department doesn’t give a rats ass about the constitution or the privacy and welfare of US citizens.
          People who uncover the illegalities and corruption of the government are not useless. Those who sit on their asses, do noting and accept the tyranny of their government are useless shits, and ignorant chumps. Could you be one of them?

          1. I’m always amazed when people as stupid as you manage to authenticate to a website and get a chance to display their idiocy.

        3. Her and Manning are useless shits. Snowden is a whistleblower.

          And hero.

        4. Snowden is a useless shit too!

      2. “Yeah, you guys would totally respect her for being a whistle blower.”

        That’s not a response so much as an admission that I’m right, but you dislike me.

        She never gave us the chance.

        1. “You all would claim”

          Her decision to play spy instead renders your Professor X impersonation moot.

      3. Based on the earlier thread… dont you think she deserves 9 years an any reduction of sentence would be political cronyism?

    2. She was part of the DeepState “Resistance” trying to overthrow self-government in the US, which Reason now shills for.

      Let her and all other Deep State enemies of the People rot in prison.

      #LibertariansForRuleOfTheDeepState

    3. That’s what I thought. There’s nothing about her that shows she’s done anything but enjoy her little political theatre moment. Boo-Hoo. You want to play team sports, enjoy the outcome of ending up on the losing team.

  2. Winner is “losing hope” and is not getting any treatment for her bulimia or anorexia.

    Has she considered changing her name to “Hope Loser”? Maybe *then* Trump would show some mercy.

    1. I don’t know when the above picture was taken, but it looks like she’s got the eating disorders under control.

    2. That was my thought. Trump had far higher ratings on his reality show than she did. So he is Reality Winner. She is just fake Reality Winner – now living in some shithole.

  3. I’m confident Trump will get around to pardoning Reality Winner, right after he pardons Edward Snowden.

    1. I really hope Trump pardons Snowden. Ram that right up the Deep State’s ass.

      1. Snowden revealed more than just CIA spying on Americans. People forget he also released information that put troops in harms way.

        We can admit showing the spying was bad, but not everything he released was good.

        1. I dont think snowden should be accountable for releasing classified info. He should, which is what the pardon is for excusing his illegal actions because without proof of unconstitutional domestic spying, the government wont ever be accountable.

          At least now Americans know about the domestic spying.

        2. You people are all hopeless morons. Snowden gave Greenwald and others tens of thousands (or perhaps hundreds of thousands) of classified documents. They get to release what they want for whatever purposes suit them. Anybody who thinks Glenn Greenwald is libertarian, or a patriot, or a well-meaning American concerned about liberty … well, they just haven’t read Glenn Greenwald.

          Now we need a whistleblower within Greemwald’s clique to tell us exactly how many documents they have.

  4. So, Roger Stone deserves roughly DOUBLE the sentence Reality got? Funny to see Reason whine about Trump “interfering” with Stone and then whine that he isn’t interfering with Winner.

    1. +1000

      Unless you have been lurking, you missed that unreason has taken hack writing and TDS to a never-before-seen level.

      1. Been sick and went on a cruise so Reason was far from a concern for me. But coming back…damn. It’s bad.

        1. Hopefully not the Diamond Princess…

          1. Nah. Impractical Jokers Cruise on Norwegian actually.

            1. Kewl. Sounds fun.

    2. Yes. Stone lied to cover up his crimes and the crimes and misdeeds of elected people.
      RW leaked info to inform the public about a real and ongoing threat that the president denies is real and the entire GOP has decided to block election security bills to address the risk.

      Her act was selfless and motivated by civic duty. Stone was participating in and covering up corruption.

      Pretty easy to spot the difference, if you aren’t a dishonest partisan.

      1. “Yes. Stone lied to cover up his crimes”

        …which don’t exist.

        “and the crimes and misdeeds of elected people.”

        …which ALSO don’t exist.

        “RW leaked info to inform the public about a real and ongoing threat that the president denies is real and the entire GOP has decided to block election security bills to address the risk.”

        Oh, the GOP supports plenty of them. ID while voting. Stuff like that. Who, exactly, is blocking that?

        “Her act was selfless and motivated by civic duty.”

        Try as you might, she is unlikely to blow you.

        “Stone was participating in and covering up corruption.”

        …which didn’t exist, mind you.

        1. If the crimes didn’t exist, why did stone feel the need to commit 7 felonies to obscure the truth? And why should we let him get away with lying to congress and law enforcement, anyway? Oh, because Trump said so, and you guys eat straight out of his depends.

          1. “why did stone feel the need to commit 7 felonies”

            Why did he lie to authorities? Because they’re corrupt bruh, welcome to the real world.

            “And why should we let him get away with lying to congress and law enforcement, anyway”

            BECAUSE THEY’RE CORRUPT BRUH PAY ATTENTION

            Nah, suck that authority cock instead.

          2. The prosecutors themselves said there was no underlying crime you ignorant fuck.

        2. And why won’t the GOP pass any of those election security bills? Seriously. There’s no fat in them, they are very straight forward. If they want voter ID’s (a very non-libertarian position, btw), then they could get those into the bills, I’m sure.

          It makes it seem like they are complicit, and want more foreign interference. (They are and do.)

          1. Will you leftists decide if Russia is bad or good? I mean, Bernie thinks they are awesome…or at least were when dramatically more authoritarian.

          2. “And why won’t the GOP pass any of those election security bills?”

            Ah, the Libertarians for more laws about security theatre caucus has arrived.

            1. And he literally denied the bill that provides the most security in identification.

          3. What, exactly, is non-Libertarian about Voter ID?
            There is not one single argument against it that is honest or makes even a little sense

      2. “Yes. Stone lied to cover up his crimes”

        You mean like claiming to be a whistleblower?

      3. Stone lied about legal actions you ignorant fuck. Jeff, stop talking when you are openly ignorant.

    3. Reason shills for Deep State rule.

  5. It wasn’t really an indication that Trump actually cared about what happened to Winner.

    Whew, good thing you explained that! I was worried for a moment!

    1. I am kind of curious exactly how he determined that. Magical mind reading powers?

  6. Trump tweeted that he was pardoning or commuting sentences for several defendants who had those same US Attorneys from the Roger Stone case.

    Trump may very well be setting up public support for pardoning Roger Stone under the premise that those US Attorneys are so biased that their prosecutions were mishandled. In the interests of justice, reduced sentences may be in order and it’s within Trump’s constitutional power to do so.

    1. Interesting, do you have a link? That would in fact be very appropriate.

  7. “Reality Winner”
    Sounds like one of those Urban legends from way back that said they’d pay you $10000 for making rights to your kid. “MountainDew Extreme Jones”

  8. Imprisoned Leaker Reality Winner Seeks Mercy From Trump

    And people in Hell want ice water.

    1. Not in the Ninth circle, they don’t.

  9. Trump should pardon all Whistleblowers

  10. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with leaking.

  11. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me as I get older with each successive Presidency we should have a Constitutional amendment stripping the President of his power of pardon, as well as revisiting the War Powers Act and placing limits on the scope and duration of Presidential Emergency Declarations and Executive Orders.

    But, sadly, it’s also becoming clearer and clearer to me as I get older with each successive Presidency those things will never happen.

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  13. She didn’t leak any serious wrongdoing by the government, she leaked classified info. Like a moron she sent emails and documents over unprotected channels. The Intercept then pretty much helped the feds arrest her At least the Trump “Whistleblower” applied for that status.

    She was the first wave of TDS stricken resistance lemmings and her diary fawned all over radical Islam. In hindsight she was also the first clue that the intelligence community was ran by buffoonish clowns. If Assange isn’t pardoned, there’s no way she should be.

    Trump shouldn’t have pardoned any of the people he pardoned. Blago is apparently chilling at a prison resort somewhere. What did he do to deserve clemency? Ross Ulbricht is rotting in jail after the prosecution overcharged him.

    1. Assange shouldn’t need a pardon. He should just not be prosecuted, because he’s not under the jurisdiction of the USA, and therefore should not be held to our laws.

      I know, I’m dreaming.

      And, I don’t particularly like the guy.

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  15. Fuck her. She signed the standard TS/SCI NDA and understood the consequences of a security violation.

    Five years wasn’t enough.

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  19. Ha! That’s the last case Trump would want to give more publicity to. I bet she hasn’t even made a campaign contribution. Better wait for the next President.

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