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Document leaker Reality Winner is home after serving prison time

Reality Winner
Reality Winner(WRDW)
Published: Nov. 22, 2021 at 10:05 AM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - National Security Agency document leaker Reality Winner is back home after serving time in federal prison.

Her official release date from Federal Bureau of Prisons custody is Tuesday.

Her attorney confirmed to News 12 that she’s at home and she’ll be off home confinement Tuesday.

She’ll be starting her supervised release, which is less restrictive, but still she’s not able to leave the federal judicial district or stay out past 10 p.m.

Winner had technically not been in prison since summer, when she was released to confinement.

She went behind bars in June 2017 for leaking a classified report containing top-secret information to a news organization.

Winner is a former active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force and had been working in Augusta as a government contractor for Pluribus International Corp.

Federal court documents showed Winner had "top secret clearance."

Winner entered a plea deal in the case and pleaded guilty in 2018 to a single count of transmitting national security information. Winner was sentenced to five years and three months in prison, which prosecutors said at the time was the longest ever imposed for leaking government information to the news media.

She tested positive for coronavirus while in the federal prison near Dallas and was denied compassionate release, which her family sought, saying she was medically vulnerable.

Her release was not a product of the pardon or compassionate release process but rather the time earned from her “exemplary behavior” while incarcerated, her attorney said.

The former Air Force translator worked as a contractor at a National Security Agency office in Augusta, when she printed a classified report and left the building with it tucked into her pantyhose. Winner told the FBI she mailed the document to an online news outlet.

Authorities never identified the news organization. But the Justice Department announced Winner’s June 2017 arrest the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document. It detailed Russian government efforts to penetrate a Florida-based supplier of voting software and the accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner had leaked.

At the time of her sentencing, Winner was given credit for more than a year she spent in jail while the case was pending in U.S. District Court.

“My actions were a cruel betrayal of my nation’s trust in me,” Winner told the judge at her sentencing in August, 2018.

From reports by WRDW/WAGT and The Associated Press