NSA contractor who leaked classified US report on Russian hacking has been sentenced to more than 5 years in prison

Sean Rayford/Getty ImagesAUGUSTA, GA – JUNE 8: Reality Winner exits the Augusta Courthouse June 8, 2017 in Augusta, Georgia.
  • Reality Winner, 26, was sentenced to more than five years in prison on Thursday for leaking a secret US report on the Russian hacking of voting systems to the media last year.
  • She was arrested in June 2017 on suspicion of leaking an intelligence report on the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document.
  • The classified document published by The Intercept detailed Russian government efforts to hack a Florida-based voting software supplier and detailed accounts of election officials.
  • Her sentence is the longest sentence ever given for a federal crime involving leaks to the news media.

A former National Security Agency contractor who leaked a secret US report on the Russian hacking of voting systems has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

Reality Winner, 26, was sentenced in Augusta, Georgia, on Thursday. The 63-month sentence was in line with what prosecutors had recommended.

Winner was arrested last year on suspicion of leaking an intelligence report the same day The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document.

The classified document published by The Intercept detailed Russian government efforts to hack a Florida-based US voting software supplier, according to The Associated Press. It also detailed accounts of election officials ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

Authorities have not described the document leaked by Winner or what news organisation received it.

Winner was employed by the military contractor Pluribus International Corporation when she leaked the document.

She pleaded guilty in June to transmitting national security information by copying the classified report and mailing it to an unidentified news organisation.

Her sentence is the longest sentence ever given for a federal crime involving leaks to the news media.

Winner apologised in court.

The 26-year-old, who was in the Air Force before becoming an NSA contractor, spent a year in Jail before reaching a plea agreement after attorneys argued she was a potential flight risk.

She confessed to leaking the classified report during FBI questioning in June 2017.

“Yeah, I screwed up royally,” she told agents before her arrest, according to CBS.

Prosecutors had warned that Winner may have stolen other US documents, but she was never charged with any additional crimes.

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