NSA whistleblower Reality Winner sentenced to 5 years in prison

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A 63-month prison sentence has been handed down to Reality Winner, the 26-year-old former National Security Agency contractor who leaked classified material showing the Russian military attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

BuzzFeed News reports the sentence, recommended by prosecutors, is the longest ever given to a civilian for leaking classified government information in U.S. history.

Winner, an Air Force veteran, pleaded guilty in June to passing a classified NSA report to online news website the Intercept. The report included information about how the agency believed the Russian military, or GRU, had attempted to send phishing emails to VR Systems, a Florida election vendor.

In July, special counsel Robert Mueller handed indictments to 12 GRU officers with charges that included sending phishing emails to hack VR Systems.

Winner’s mother Billie Winner-Davis told BuzzFeed News she’s “still angry” and believes her daughter is facing undue punished as a whistleblower.

“She doesn’t deserve to be the example or deterrent for others,” Winner-Davis said. “Her act was wrong but it doesn’t compare to others who got off.”

H/T BuzzFeed News

Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers

Kris Seavers is the Evening Editor for the Daily Dot, where she covers breaking news, politics, and LGBTQ issues. Her work has appeared in Central Texas publications, including Austin Monthly and San Antonio Magazine, and on NPR.