US releases NSA leaker Reality Winner into supervised custody

Her family is pressing President Joe Biden for a full pardon.

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AUGUSTA, GA - JUNE 8: Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia. Winner is an intelligence industry contractor accused of leaking National Security Agency (NSA) documents. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Sean Rayford via Getty Images

The US federal government has released Reality Winner, the former NSA contractor who leaked information about Russia's attempts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, from prison into supervised custody. Winner is currently at a Residential Reentry Management center in Texas, according to The Independent.

"Her release is not a product of the pardon or compassionate release process, but rather the time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated," Alison Grinter Allen, Winner's attorney, said on Twitter.

While Winner will likely end her sentence in November, her family is pushing for a full pardon from President Joe Biden. "Reality has served a lot of time and gone through quite a bit of trauma to fight for essentially one man's feelings about his election's validity," Allen told The Independent. "It's the only way to make this right."

Winner's mother, Billie Winner-Davis, recently told MSNBC she has been contacting the White House every day since President Joe Biden took office to try and secure her daughter's pardon. So far, she has only received a form letter in response, notifying her that a different agency had taken up the case.

"The Trump administration persecuted Reality so strongly because of the information she released. And the continued silence from this administration is a continued persecution," she told the network. "All it's going to take is [Biden's] signature to commute her sentence and bring her home to us."

The US government arrested Winner in 2017 and sentenced her to five years and three months in prison, the longest ever sentence of anyone charged under the Espionage Act, after she plead guilty to sharing classified documents with the press. Much of the blame for Winner's arrest has been attributed to The Intercept. The outlet's reporters reportedly forwarded the original document Winner sent to them to the government for validation. It included metadata that pointed authorities directly to Winner, leading to her arrest two days before The Intercept published its report. The outlet has since acknowledged that it mishandled the situation.

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