Reality Winner, who leaked intelligence on Russian election meddling, released from prison

Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. Winner is an intelligence trade contractor accused of leaking National Security Agency (NSA) paperwork.

Sean Rayford | Getty Images

Reality Winner, a former Air Force linguist who pleaded responsible in 2018 to leaking an intelligence report about Russian election meddling within the 2016 election, has been released from prison, her legal professional stated Monday.

“I am thrilled to announce that Reality Winner has been released from prison,” Alison Grinter Allen wrote in a publish on Twitter. “She is still in custody in the residential reentry process, but we are relieved and hopeful.”

A Bureau of Prisons web site says that Winner is presently positioned at a reentry facility in San Antonio. Her launch date from the power is listed as November 23, 2021.

Winner, now 29, was 25 on the time that she printed out a categorized intelligence report on the National Security Agency facility in Georgia the place she labored and supplied it to journalists on the investigative information outlet The Intercept.

A narrative based mostly on Winner’s leak was published on June 5, 2017, with the headline: “TOP-SECRET NSA REPORT DETAILS RUSSIAN HACKING EFFORT DAYS BEFORE 2016 ELECTION.”

“Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials just days before last November’s presidential election, according to a highly classified intelligence report obtained by The Intercept,” stated the article, written by journalists Matthew Cole, Richard Esposito, Sam Biddle and Ryan Grim.

Winner was sentenced to 5 years and three months in August 2018. According to Allen, Winner’s early launch was not the product of a “pardon or compassionate release process, but rather the time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated.”

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Allen added that Winner stays barred from making public statements or appearances. Winner and her household, Allen stated, “have asked for privacy during the transition process as they work to heal the trauma of incarceration and build back the years lost.”

Winner’s case was an early instance of the powerful method that President Donald Trump’s administration took towards these accused of leaking confidential authorities info. Prosecutors stated on the time that Winner’s sentence would mark the longest sentence served by a federal defendant for leaking to the media.

The case additionally mirrored poorly on the supply safety strategies utilized by The Intercept. In 2017, editor-in-chief Betsy Reed issued a statement acknowledging that “at several points in the editorial process, our practices fell short of the standards to which we hold ourselves for minimizing the risks of source exposure when handling anonymously provided materials.”

Winner was arrested on June 3, 2017, two days earlier than The Intercept revealed its article based mostly on the doc she supplied. Investigators stated they tracked Winner down after figuring out that whoever had leaked the categorized doc had printed it out. Winner was one among simply half a dozen individuals who had printed the doc, and had additionally used her work pc to e mail somebody at The Intercept.

Winner’s launch comes because the Biden administration is beneath strain over aggressive maneuvers utilized by the Justice Department beneath Trump to uncover the supply of leaked supplies. On Friday, the Justice Department’s inspector basic stated it’s going to look into the division’s earlier seizure of digital information belonging to journalists at main information retailers and Democratic members of Congress as a part of leak investigations.

It was reported Monday that John Demers, a prime Justice Department official who oversaw these leak investigations, will depart the company in two weeks. A Justice Department spokesperson stated Demers’ departure was deliberate earlier than the latest scandal.

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