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Judge Broke Record With Reality Winner's Prison Sentence

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A former intelligence contractor who leaked information about Russian will serve more than five years in prison for passing along a National Security Agency report in 2017.

The 63-month sentence handed down Thursday in an Augusta, Georgia courtroom, is the longest ever given anyone for disclosing government information, according to Titus Nichols, the lawyer for Reality Winner, Reuters reported.

“The sentence and accompanying plea agreement both reflect that Reality recognizes that actions have consequences, and that she has learned from her mistake and is prepared to accept the consequences of her actions,” Winner’s attorneys said in a statement.

Winner had been indicted on one count of willful retention and transmission of national defense information, a felony under the Espionage and Censorship Act. The maximum sentence is 10 years in prison.

Winner, who was employed by Pluribus International Corp, a company that provides services to America’s defense and intelligence agencies, leaked an NSA report to The Intercept.

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Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept, said in a statement that Winner should be praised.

“Instead of being recognized as a conscience-driven whistleblower whose disclosure helped protect U.S. elections, Winner was prosecuted with vicious resolve by the Justice Department under the Espionage Act,” Reed said.

Prosecutors were adamant that Winner deserved what she got.

“Make no mistake: This was not a victimless crime,” U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine said in a statement.

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“Winner’s purposeful violation put our nation’s security at risk,” he added, The New York Times reported. He said the report she leaked revealed sources and methods of intelligence gathering, and its disclosure “caused exceptionally grave damage to U.S. national security.”

Winner “knowingly and intentionally betrayed the trust of her colleagues and her country,” and was “the quintessential example of an insider threat,” he said.

Winner’s sentence made news when President Donald Trump and other compared it to the lack of action against leaks taking place in Washington.

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Winner’s attorneys said no malice was intended.

“She’s a good person … who didn’t understand the magnitude of what she was doing,” attorney John Bell said Thursday, according to CNN.

Bell also pointed out that Winner was a first-time offender who had wanted to serve her country.

In court on Thursday, Winner said she took “full responsibility” for the “undeniable mistake I made.” She said she “would like to apologize profusely” for her actions,  the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

“I had no intention to harm national security,” Winner also said.

The sentence includes time served since her arrest, because Winner had been held in jail since June 2017, after prosecutors said they found “disturbing” comments in her notebook. In one section Winner wrote: “I want to burn the White House down,” prosecutors said.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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