Freedom of the Press Foundation statement on whistleblower Reality Winner’s plea deal

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Promoting press freedom in the 21st century

Whistleblower Reality Winner has pled guilty to leaking a secret NSA report to the media that detailed how alleged Russian actors attempted to hack United States election infrastructure. For one count of violating Section 793 of the archaic Espionage Act, Winner will serve 63 months in prison and 3 years of supervised release—the longest sentence in history a leaker has received in federal court.

She previously plead not guilty to one count of violating the federal Espionage Act, and she has been in jail for over a full year without bail.

Freedom of the Press Foundation Executive Director Trevor Timm issued the following statement:

“Reality Winner is a whistleblower alerted the public about a critical threat to election security. It continues to be a travesty that sources of journalists are prosecuted by the Justice Department under the Espionage Act—a statute meant for spies that doesn’t allow for a public interest defense. Winner performed a public service by alerting the public and state officials to critical vulnerabilities in election infrastructure, and it’s shameful the Justice Department would seek any prison time for her doing so. ”

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