Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner on Thursday was sentenced to more than five years in prison after pleading guilty to leaking a classified report with information on Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.
Winner, 26, was sentenced to 63 months, with no fine in a Georgia courtroom. She received an additional three years of supervised release.
The prisoner's mom had tears streaming down her face as the sentence was read. Winner appeared in court wearing an orange jumpsuit.
Winner's defense team said they felt the sentence, reportedly the longest ever imposed for a federal media leak crime, was "fair."
Winner, an Air Force veteran, pleaded guilty in June after being held in prison at the Lincoln County Jail near Augusta, Georgia. Winner was arrested in June 2017, and charged under the Espionage Act for removing classified material from a government facility and mailing it to a news outlet, according to the Justice Department.
Winner’s 2017 arrest was announced shortly after the Intercept website published a story detailing how Russian hackers attacked at least one U.S. voting software supplier and sent so-called “spear-phishing” emails to more than 100 local election officials at the end of October or beginning of November 2016.
The Justice Department did not specify that Winner was being charged in connection with the Intercept’s report. However, the site noted that the NSA report cited in its story was dated May 5, 2017. An affidavit supporting Winner’s arrest also said the report was dated “on or about” May 5, 2017.
Winner worked as a contractor with a Top Secret security clearance with Pluribus International Corporation at a federal facility in Georgia when she printed out a sheet of paper with classified information and mailed it to a news outlet, according to the Justice Department.
Winner had a colorful history on social media that laid bare her political leanings, and wanted to “resist” President Trump.
At the time of her arrest in 2017, Winner’s social media pages indicate she was a passionate environmentalist who shared Bernie Sanders material online and held some anti-Trump views. She shared numerous articles and comments against the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines (which Trump has moved to revive) on her Facebook page, even posting a letter she sent to the office of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga.
“Repeat after me: In the United States of America, in the year 2017, access to clean, fresh water is not a right, but a privilege based off of one’s socio-economic status,” Winner wrote in a Facebook posting last year.
Winner also posted using the hashtag #F---ingWall, in an entry about Trump “silencing” the Environment Protection Agency.
Winner also posted last February, before Trump revived construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline: “You have got to be s---ting me right now. No one has called? The White House shut down their phone lines. There have been protests for months, at both the drilling site and outside the White House. I’m losing my mind. If you voted for this piece of s---, explain this. He’s lying. He’s blatantly lying and the second largest supply of freshwater in the country is now at risk. #NoDAPL #NeverMyPresident #Resist.”
And in one telling post before the 2016 general election, she wrote, "On a positive note, this Tuesday when we become the United States of the Russian Federation, Olympic lifting will be the national sport."
Air Force officials confirmed that Winner served active duty from December of 2010 to December 2016. Winner was a cryptologic language analyst, requiring fluency in at least one foreign language which was not divulged. Winner attained the rank of senior airmen, E4, and was last stationed at Ft. Mead in Maryland.
Fox News' Samuel Chamberlain and Nicole Darrah contributed to this report.