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Leaker Gets 5 Years Under Espionage Act

Reality Winner pleads guilty
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jun 26, 2018 1:21 PM CDT
Reality Winner Pleads Guilty to Leaking US Secrets
Reality Winner, charged with leaking U.S. secrets to a news outlet, walks into the Federal Courthouse in Augusta, Ga., Tuesday, June 26, 2018.   (Michael Holahan/The Augusta Chronicle via AP)

(Newser) – A woman accused of leaking US secrets to a news outlet pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court in Georgia, the AP reports. Reality Winner, 26, entered her guilty plea after reaching a plea agreement with prosecutors that calls for her to serve five years and three months behind bars, news outlets reported. A judge will sentence her later. "All of these actions I did willfully, meaning I did them of my own free will," she told the court, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Winner has been held without bail since she was arrested in June 2017 and charged under the Espionage Act. Her trial had been set to start Oct. 15.

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She is a former Air Force linguist who speaks Arabic and Farsi and had a top-secret security clearance. She worked for the national security contractor Pluribus International at Fort Gordon in Georgia when she was charged in June 2017 with copying a classified US report and mailing it to an unidentified news organization. The Justice Department announced Winner's arrest on the same day The Intercept, an online news outlet, reported it had obtained a classified National Security Agency report suggesting Russian hackers attacked a US voting software supplier before the 2016 presidential election. The NSA report was dated May 5, the same as the document Winner was accused of leaking.

(Read more Reality Winner stories.)

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