Who is Reality Winner and why was she in prison?

FORMER intelligence specialist Reality Winner was convicted of leaking classified material to an online news outlet in 2018.

Winner was sentenced to five years and three months in prison as part of a plea deal and was incarcerated at the Federal Medical Center, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas.

Who is Reality Winner and why was she in prison?

Winner is a former intelligence specialist who was convicted of "removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet."

The material in question originated with the National Security Agency.

Winner was employed by the military contractor Pluribus International Corporation.

On June 3, 2017, Winner was arrested on suspicion of leaking an intelligence report about Russia's interference in the 2016 US election to the news outlet The Intercept.

The report indicated that Russian hackers accessed voter registration rolls in the US with an email phishing operation, but it was unclear whether any changes were made.

While awaiting trial, Winner was denied bail twice and was held at the Lincoln County Jail in Lincolnton, Georgia.

In August 2018, Winner was sentenced to five years and three months for violating the Espionage Act.

Her sentence was the longest ever imposed in federal court for an unauthorized release of government information to the media.

Has she been released from prison?

On Monday, June 14, Winner's attorney, Alison Grinter Allen, announced that the 29-year-old was released from prison.

Allen said Winner was released into the residential reentry program through good behavior.

"I am thrilled to announce that Reality Winner has been released from prison, Allen posted on Twitter.

"She is still in custody in the residential reentry process, but we are relieved and hopeful.

"Her release is not a product of the pardon or compassionate release process, but rather the time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated."

Allen told The Independent her family are seeking a pardon from the president, telling the site: "Reality has served a lot of time and gone through quite a bit of trauma to fight for essentially one man’s feelings about his election’s validity.

“It’s the only way to make this right.”

While working in the NSA’s Augusta, Georgia, office, Winner printed a classified report on the alleged Russian cyberattack and snuck it out of the facility by hiding the document in her pantyhose in May 2017.

She told the FBI she mailed the document to the online news outlet The Intercept.

Winner lost an appeal to be released in 2020.

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