Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

NSA whistleblower Reality Winner

Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. Winner is an intelligence industry contractor accused of leaking National Security Agency (NSA) documents. (Photo: Sean Rayford/Getty Images)

Reality Winner's Release From Federal Prison Met With Calls for Full Pardon for the NSA Whistleblower

Winner will serve the rest of her five-year sentence under the supervision of a halfway house.

Julia Conley

Press freedom advocates were among those celebrating the release of former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner on Monday after her attorney announced Winner had been transferred from federal prison to a halfway house.

Alison Grinter Allen, Winner's lawyer, said the legal team is continuing to pursue a full pardon from President Joe Biden.
 
Winner's release was not part of a commutation but was the result of "time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated," according to Grinter Allen, who added that San Antonio's Residential Reentry Management field office may allow Winner to serve the rest of her time in home confinement. 
 
"The Residential Reentry center is in charge right now and will manage her transition, but we are definitely still seeking commutation and pardon," the attorney said in a tweeted statement. "The fight continues and I'll still be taking meetings in Washington to press forward the case for commutation and pardon, but the family will be stepping back to concentrate on Reality and her health and healing."
 
Winner, who worked at Fort Gordon in Georgia as a contractor with Pluribus International, was arrested in 2017 after federal law enforcement agents determined she had given a secret document about Russian hackers targeting the U.S. election system to reporters at The Intercept. 
 
She was charged under the Espionage Act and took a plea deal which included a five-year prison sentence, which she is scheduled to finish serving on November 23, 2021.
 
The Freedom of the Press Foundation said Winner's release from federal prison was "long overdue."
 
Grassroots public interest newswire The Sparrow Project tweeted that Winner's prosecution served as a reminder of "the separate standards of justice in 'leak' investigations, and just how politicized they have become."
 
Winner's legal team sent thousands of letters to former President Donald Trump asking for clemency, but he did not intervene in the case.
 
The digital rights group Fight for the Future called on Biden to pardon Winner "immediately."
 
"Telling the truth is not a crime," the group said.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

Poll: Overwhelming Majority of US Voters Want Robust Regulation of Tech Companies

"When it comes to Big Tech's monopoly power and surveillance business model, the public is unified: They want action. They want to see the Big Tech companies broken up and users' privacy protected."

Brett Wilkins ·


228 Republicans Blasted for Brief Urging Supreme Court to Overturn Roe v. Wade

"Every single politician who signed this amicus brief is actively working to strip away our fundamental freedoms and endanger pregnant people and families across the country."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Historic Victory': Bayer to End US Residential Sales of Glyphosate-Based Herbicides

"As agricultural, large-scale use of this toxic pesticide continues, our farmworkers remain at risk. It's time for EPA to act and ban glyphosate for all uses."

Kenny Stancil ·


73 Major Corporations Paid Just 5.3% Federal Tax Rate Between 2018 and 2020: Report

Thirty-nine other companies paid no federal corporate tax during the three-year period, in which they collectively reaped over $120 billion in profits.

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Asks Congress to Act to Prevent Evictions—Just 3 Days Before Moratorium Expires

"These calls should have come weeks ago, not 72 hours before the moratorium expires."

Jake Johnson ·