The family of Reality Winner, the government contractor charged with leaking a top-secret NSA report to online news outlet The Intercept, fears their daughter will receive a harsher sentence as the Trump administration looks to "make an example" of leakers.
“I think they’re going to try to make an example out of her because of the political climate right now,” Billie Winner-Davis, Winner's mother, told the Associated Press.
Winner is accused of leaking an NSA report, published by The Intercept on Monday, that detailed Russian attempts to hack a voting software vendor and local election officials.
If Winner's prosecution becomes “this big thing where we’re not going to tolerate leakers,” Winner-Davis said, her daughter won't receive a fair trial.
Winner has been jailed in Lincoln County, Ga., since her arrest. Winner's family is now seeking her release pending a trial.
“She’s not a flight risk,” Winner's stepfather, Gary Davis, said. “Everybody in America knows what she looks like at this point. She’s never ran away from anything in her life. She’s not a violent person. She has no record. There’s no reason to hold her.”
“If she made this mistake,” Davis said, “it needs to be balanced against what she has done in the past and how she has served this country.”
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released a statement after Winner's arrest praising law enforcement for acting quickly against leaks.
“Releasing classified material without authorization threatens our nation’s security and undermines public faith in government. People who are trusted with classified information and pledge to protect it must be held accountable when they violate that obligation,” Rosenstein said in a statement.