Espionage Act

National Security Agency Leaker Reality Winner Freed from Prison Early

She was sentenced to more than five years for revealing how Russia tried to hack the 2016 election.

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Imprisoned former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, who leaked documents to the press about Russia's attempt to hack into voting systems during the 2016 presidential election, was released today from prison, her lawyer reports.

Winner was arrested in 2017 when the government tracked her down as the source of documents leaked to The Intercept. In 2018, after being denied bail or pretrial release, she accepted a harsh plea deal that sentenced her to 63 months in prison.

That was the longest sentence handed down to a government contractor who leaked to the press. She appealed to President Donald Trump to commute her sentence. Winner's leaks did not implicate the president or anybody in his campaign or administration with assisting in the hack campaign or even being aware of it, but nevertheless Trump declined. Last year federal prosecutors also fought Winner's attempt to get a compassionate release over the risk of COVID-19.

Her early release is not attributable to President Joe Biden's administration either, according to her attorney, Alison Grinter Allen. Winner had time removed from her sentence for good behavior while she was imprisoned. Biden did not pardon her or commute her sentence.

Don't expect a big speech from Winner in the near future. Allen says she's still forbidden from "public statements or appearances."

When Winner was arrested, I noted that she revealed information that Americans should arguably be allowed access to, regardless of whether Winner should be perceived as a whistleblower. We, as citizens, have a right to know about attempts to compromise our election system. To the extent that Winner violated the federal Espionage Act, it was—as in Edward Snowden's case—to inform the American public about something that happened, not to engage in any actual espionage. Her long sentence was shameful, and the Biden administration's failure to act is a useful reminder that federal targeting of whistleblowers and leakers is a bipartisan affair.

NEXT: Senate Bill Would Ban Judges from Using Acquitted Conduct at Sentencing

Espionage Act National Security Agency Prison sentence Election 2016 Russia Cybersecurity Whistleblowers Donald Trump

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83 responses to “National Security Agency Leaker Reality Winner Freed from Prison Early

  1. The Intercept should be ashamed for fucking her over.

    1. That reminds me. I haven’t read the intercept in a while.

      1. The list of people who care:

        1. You cared enough to comment ya perv

          1. asshole flag

      2. asshole’s really using up the flags today

        1. Well, it’s Flag Day.

          1. Haha! Good one!

            1. asshole again

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          2. Here in Seattle the schools celebrated flag day.

            No, not that one. Haha.

    2. Snowden’s leak was to reveal government corruption and illegality, a totally legitimate reason to leak confidential material.
      Winner’s leak wasn’t about government wrongdoing and jeopardized a legitimate investigation into an activity every other country on the planet is engaged in (influencing American elections), to try and shit on Trump.

      It’s hard for you to fathom this but what Snowden did, was a complete 180 from what Winner and the tranny pulled.

      1. ^This

        Winner and Manning did it out of spite. They weren’t whistleblowing until they got caught.

        Snowden did it knowing it would cost him everything.

        1. Get a load of the mind reader here. You have no idea why Manning and Winner did what they did, brah.

          1. They’ve both said why they did it. Brah.

          2. Chipper makes a public ass of himself once again!
            Fuck off and die.

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  2. To the extent that Winner violated the federal Espionage Act, it was—as in Edward Snowden’s case—to inform the American public about something that happened, not to engage in any actual espionage.

    Sorry, but that’s a major league false equivalence. Snowden’s leak revealed illegal espionage against US citizens. Winner did it to undermine Trump (as you recall, she was a hardcore Bernie supporter).

    1. Maybe she’ll violate parole and they’ll throw her sorry ass back into the clink.

      1. I’m ok with her being released, I was just calling out Shack for what he was doing.

        1. Reason really can’t help themselves.

        2. Who’s Shack? Or is this some kind of “inside” conversation?

          1. The guy who wrote the article.

    2. Oh, I see how you guys see things. Whistleblower embarrasses a Democrat, he or she is a hero. Whistleblower does something to hurt Trump, he or she is just doing it for selfish political reasons.

      1. “Oh, I see how you guys see things. Whistleblower embarrasses a Democrat, he or she is a hero. Whistleblower does somethi”

        Ohm, we see how chipper makes a public ass of himself yet again; need help with that strawman? Public ass Jeff is just below!

      2. No dickhead, when someone perverts the whistleblower law like Winner did, then I have nothing but contempt for them.

        Snowden was a whistleblower.

        Reality Winner is just a traitorous bitch.

      3. “”Whistleblower does something to hurt Trump, he or she is just doing it for selfish political reasons.””

        Hurt Trump how?

        “”Winner’s leaks did not implicate the president or anybody in his campaign or administration with assisting in the hack campaign or even being aware of it, “”

    3. They both revealed secrets that the government was trying to suppress.

    4. “Sorry, but that’s a major league false equivalence.”

      Otherwise known as pulling a Shackford.

      Intellectual honesty is not in his wheelhouse.

    5. God forbid Trump should be undermined! Best to keep all evidence of foreign election interference hidden so as not to embarrass the Great Orange Savior.

  3. What’s KAR saying up there? I can’t see it.

    1. Blaming the Intercept for her stupidity.

    2. You can always unmute me you Mormon waste of life

      1. asshole flag

        1. That asshole is so big the flag just fell right in.

          1. That’s so funny I forgot to laugh.

            Please don’t encourage the rummy

            1. Asshole ‘nother flag

  4. LOL. now that is how you build a narrative.

    She was sentenced to more than five years for revealing how Russia tried to hack the 2016 election.

    Isn’t talking about election security insurrection now?

    1. We, as citizens, have a right to know about attempts to compromise our election system.

      Which is why Reason has attacked any and every attempt at an actual election audit.

      1. ^^ THIS; Best point yet…

      2. Nor have they given any serious consideration to all the changes made to election procedures during the pandemic – often not made by the respective state legislatures.

        1. So forgive me if I conclude that Shackford is a full of shit disingenuous sackweasel.

          It’s not like he hasn’t earned it.

        2. That includes states like Texas that Trump won. I assume you want an audit there too?

      3. Trump and his supporters were allowed and took every opportunity to prove their allegations in court and to the press. Why is it Reasons fault their “evidence” failed to convince anyone except those who already believed the election was stolen?

        1. Why is it Reasons fault their “evidence” failed to convince anyone
          ….because the more “evidence” that surfaced the more censoring occurred…

    2. Insurrection is infrastructure.

      1. Insurstructure?
        Infrarection?

        1. If you have an infrarection, she’ll never see it coming.

  5. she’s still forbidden from “public statements or appearances.”

    Can she vote? Must she register as an offender?

    1. Convicted felon – no vote.
      Register – for what?

      1. Register – for what?

        I’d guess foreign agent/national status. Interesting question, she is/was found guilty.

        1. She’s not currently a foreign agent. Her national status is American.

          1. So is Snowden’s.

      2. “”Register – for what?””

        Who the hell knows theses days. Government loves lists.

  6. Russia ATTEMPT to hack? What is this madness ATTEMPT?
    I have it on the authority of every lying democrat and every lying member of the legacy media that the hack was fully successful and directly led to the overthrow of the ruling class in this country in an act of treason that took four years and 50 million more lies to recover from.

    1. Don’t forget that the next election was totally fortified and unhackable.

      1. The Biden Administration has a real problem: nobody hires 100 lawyers to hide an election victory.
        Nobody has the DOJ interfere in a state ordered audit because they won fair and square.

      2. I can’t believe you all are still talking about that Time Magazine article 5 months later. Man they really got their money’s worth on that one. What do you think that article *actually* says?

  7. Well too bad she’s no democrat representative in the house from california, and as well all know they are immune from scrutiny, even when chinese hookers are involved.

    1. Well except for Katie Hill, heh

    2. And Chinese chauffeurs.

  8. “To the extent that Winner violated the federal Espionage Act, it was—as in Edward Snowden’s case—to inform the American public about something that happened, not to engage in any actual espionage.”

    The question of the day isn’t really about why we should make distinctions between espionage and whistle blowers. The question appears to be why the Democrats make distinctions between the Obama administration using FISA courts to perpetrate surveillance against the Trump campaign and the Trump administration using FISA courts to chase down leaks at the Pentagon. And the answer appears to have something to do with the Democrats’ naked partisanship.

    1. And Reason’s.

      1. Shackford is a world class water boy, no?

  9. Reality Winner has a great name for marketing time in prison as the new reality for all Americans. Everyone is gonna be a winner.

    Not that that matters. Americans don’t seem to give a damn that when it comes to imprisoning our own citizens – Cuba Libre

    1. When, oh when will we all finally be free of this prison called America, j?

      Everything Is So Terrible And Unfair! ™

  10. Good.

    She should not have been in prison to begin with.

    1. Yup

  11. We, as citizens, have a right to know about attempts to compromise our election system.

    That’s not what most of you – especially Sullum – have been saying over the last year.

    Mostly its been ‘THE ELECTION IS SAFE NO HACKING POSSIBLE YOU HAVE NO EVIDENCE SHUT THE FUCK UP SHUT THE FUCK UP SHUT THE FUCK UP!’

    1. There is a difference between trying to expose what actually happened, and treating complete lies as if they were reality.

      1. How does anybody even respond to this deep of a delusion? Do people who express such sentiments have the capacity to be saved? My goodness.

        1. Sorry, didn’t seem to suggest that I actually believe in the MASSIVE FRAUD crapola. I don’t.

      2. It appears Arizonas audit is going to both for certain people. But not in the way you think it will haha.

      3. Seems to be an indictment of Reality Winner, the media and you in both cases as you’ve got truth and fiction backward.

      4. But you have to investigate to sort out the reality from the bullshit.

  12. She shouldn’t have been in prison for the fact that her actions weren’t violent. Otherwise…

  13. National Security Agency Criminal Reality Winner Freed from Prison Early

    FIFY

  14. If Reality Winner is the name she was given at birth, it should have been her parents in prison.

    Oh, and is Prison Early one of her uncles?

  15. While I would like this information to be made public (we need to know who the bad guys are in the world and what they’re doing), she wasn’t arrested for leaking the information. She was arrested because as an NSA contractor she signed an agreement to do certain things relating to national security, and that agreement likely had a great number of restrictions. Whatever you think about that agreement, she violated it.

  16. I don’t know enough to have any amount of certainty but it seems that the People’s Right to know about a failed attempt to alter our election seems less valuable than alerting the criminals who made the attempt that they have been caught.

  17. Congress should abolish the Espionage Act of 1917. In it’s 100+ year history, more than 90% of it’s indictments have been used against non-spies, including journalists. This sickening statistic of government corruption doesn’t include the intimidation-effect this places on a free press and government employees upholding their Oath of Office.

    The Bush Administration systematically removed legal whistleblowing channels which exploded government leaking. Bush also fired Inspectors General (ones with integrity) at our security and intel agencies.

    At minimum, if Congress won’t abolish it, they should rename it the “18th Century British Redcoats Act” since it destroys constitutional due process and essentially creates a 21st Century Redcoats (federal security agencies) here in the USA.

Comments are closed.