Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner pleads guilty

Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner pleads guilty
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Reality Winner, the former government contractor charged with leaking classified information, pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday as part of a plea agreement reached with federal prosecutors.

Winner, a 26-year-old former contractor for the National Security Agency, was arrested in June 2017 after allegedly mailing a classified report on Russian interference in the federal election to the news outlet The Intercept, which later published the document.

“All of my actions I did willfully, meaning I did so of my own free will,” Winner said in federal court in Georgia at a hearing Tuesday morning, according to The New York Times.


Winner was arrested last June and charged with one count of violating the Espionage Act. She is the first person to be prosecuted for Espionage Act violations under the Trump administration.

Court documents filed Thursday indicated that Winner had entered into a plea agreement, though the details of the deal were not known at the time. The agreement calls for a sentence of 63 months — just over five years — in federal prison in exchange for Winner’s plea, according to the Times. However, she will be sentenced at a later date.

The Intercept published a story drawing on the details of the leaked document in June 2017, describing Russian government efforts to breach state election systems. Winner’s arrest became publicly known days after the article was published.

Winner, a former linguist for the U.S. Air Force, has been in jail since her arrest.