A former government contractor accused of leaking confidential information to the media has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.
Reality Winner, 26, was accused of taking a report about a 2016 Russian military intelligence cyberattack from the NSA facility where she worked and sending it to an online news outlet.
Winner initially faced 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, but accepted a plea deal. A federal judge sentenced her to 63 months in prison with three years of supervised release.
The former US Air Force linguist wore a small grin as she sat down in the Augusta, Georgia, courtroom Thursday morning and was comforted by one of her attorneys, who defended her character.
“She’s a good person,” said attorney John Bell. “Someone who didn’t understand the magnitude of what she was doing.” Bell also pointed out that Winner was a first-time offender who had wanted to serve her country.
“I had no intention to harm national security,” Winner told the court.
Winner was a federal contractor working with Pluribus International Corp. in Augusta with top-secret security clearance when she leaked information that served as the basis for a June 2017 article by The Intercept, detailing a classified National Security Agency memo that contained information about a Russian cyberattack on a supplier of US voting software supplier.