The family of Reality Winner, the NSA translator who was sentenced to more than five years in prison in 2018 after leaking a report about Russian interference in the 2016 election, has said that President Joe Biden should pardon her.
The sister of the whistleblower, Brittany Winner, told MSNBC that her sibling “should be given a pardon and President Biden owes Reality gratitude because Reality’s actions directly contributed to the fact that the 2020 elections were the most secure presidential elections in American history and so Mr Biden is president because of Reality Winner’s actions and, therefore, he should pardon her”.
Reality Winner was arrested in 2017 and was held in custody for over a year. In June 2018, she pleaded guilty to one count of unauthorized transmission of national defence information.
Prosecutors told The New York Times that Reality Winner got the longest sentence ever given by a federal court for unauthorized disclosure of government information to the press. She was sentenced under the Espionage Act.
“We believe that she released information that America needed to know and that Americans needed to know about the 2016 presidential election,” Brittany Winner told MSNBC. “And so knowing that and given that, we believe that Reality should be released. She should be given clemency.”
She added that there had been “radio silence” on the Biden administration’s end in response to the family’s effort to free Reality Winner.
Her mother, Billie Winner-Davis, said she had been contacting the White House every day but has only received a “form letter” in response, letting her know that her issue had been sent on to a different agency.
“That was very heartbreaking to me because it told me that they weren’t listening,” Ms Winner-Davis told MSNBC. “That perhaps even President Biden hadn’t seen my messages, hadn’t heard what I was asking for, because this really is in his hands right now. My daughter has a petition for clemency with the United States pardon attorney, and all it’s going to take is his signature to commute her sentence, to bring her home to us.”
“I believe that she deserves this. You know, the Trump administration persecuted Reality so strongly because of the information she released. And the continued silence from this administration is a continued persecution,” the mother added.
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