Reality Winner’s Release From Federal Prison Met With Calls for Full Pardon

Press freedom advocates were among those celebrating the release of former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner on Monday after her attorney announced Winner had been transferred from federal prison to a halfway house.

Alison Grinter Allen, Winner’s lawyer, said the legal team is continuing to pursue a full pardon from President Joe Biden.

Winner’s release was not part of a commutation but was the result of “time earned from exemplary behavior while incarcerated,” according to Grinter Allen, who added that San Antonio’s Residential Reentry Management field office may allow Winner to serve the rest of her time in home confinement.

“The Residential Reentry center is in charge right now and will manage her transition, but we are definitely still seeking commutation and pardon,” the attorney said in a tweeted statement. “The fight continues and I’ll still be taking meetings in Washington to press forward the case for commutation and pardon, but the family will be stepping back to concentrate on Reality and her health and healing.”

Winner, who worked at Fort Gordon in Georgia as a contractor with Pluribus International, was arrested in 2017 after federal law enforcement agents determined she had given a secret document about Russian hackers targeting the U.S. election system to reporters at The Intercept.

She was charged under the Espionage Act and took a plea deal which included a five-year prison sentence, which she is scheduled to finish serving on November 23, 2021.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation said Winner’s release from federal prison was “long overdue.”

Grassroots public interest newswire The Sparrow Project tweeted that Winner’s prosecution served as a reminder of “the separate standards of justice in ‘leak’ investigations, and just how politicized they have become.”

Winner’s legal team sent thousands of letters to former President Donald Trump asking for clemency, but he did not intervene in the case.

The digital rights group Fight for the Future called on Biden to pardon Winner “immediately.”

“Telling the truth is not a crime,” the group said.