In 2018, Reality Winner, who worked for an NSA contractor, was found guilty of leaking classified information to the media and was sentenced to five years in prison. Now, her attorneys are asking Donald Trump to pardon her.
Winner leaked a classified analysis about Russian military intelligence trying to hack the 2016 election to The Intercept. After publication, the NSA tracked the report and found that six people had printed it out. One of those was Winner, who was not authorized to read or possess the document.
She was picked up by the FBI and admitted everything during questioning.
But her family says she’s suffering from anxiety and bulimia in prison and should be released.
At the Monday news conference, Winner’s legal team said they filed a formal petition for commutation with the Justice Department, saying Winner had “suffered enough” and calling on the president to “do the right thing.” Winner’s family is hoping she will be pardoned or granted clemency, and hope Trump will show her mercy.
Trump has previously criticized Winner’s sentence, calling it “so unfair” and criticizing the Justice Department for handing down the sentence. “Gee, this is ‘small potatoes’ compared to what Hillary Clinton did,” the President wrote on Twitter in 2018.
Winner’s mother thinks her daughter’s treatment is inadequate in prison.
“Reality is not receiving any kind of treatment or care for her anxiety or her bulimia,” Winner-Davis said. “Every day that passes, I feel like we are losing a little piece of my daughter and who she is.”
Winner-Davis said her daughter is “not a threat to anyone” and “doesn’t deserve this.”
Gary Davis, Winner’s stepfather, said he feels like she has been “singled out.”
“She was nobody and they used her for a patsy and an example,” he said.
Thank you for supporting my daughter. https://t.co/NUWLVoO0ZP
— Gary Davis (@GaryLynnDavis2) February 17, 2020
The document that Winner passed on to The Intercept was dynamite. It detailed efforts by Russian military intelligence to hack a voting machine company in Florida and carry out cyber espionage against dozens of election officials across the country.
To this day, no one really knows how successful they were.
It was not Winner’s place to leak the report, regardless of her reasons. But five years is certainly excessive, especially since there was no malice in her act. Trump mixed up her crime with those committed by Hillary Clinton, who was accused of mishandling classified information, not leaking it to the media. But the observation is valid. Clinton skated on the charges because of who she is. Some mixed-up girl who thought the public should know of Russian interference in the election gets the book thrown at her.
Something is wrong with that picture.