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)
UPDATED 2:40 PM PT – Saturday, December 4, 2021
A former National Security advisor said she leaked government information as a way to serve the American people.
In an interview that aired Friday, former NSA contractor Reality Winner said her decision of releasing information on the alleged Russian government hacking of the 2016 election was out of love for this country. She defended her actions, saying she felt people were being misled despite being charged with espionage by the Justice Department.
“I knew it was secret, but I also knew that I had pledged service to the American people. And at that point in time, it felt like they were being led astray,” said Winner.
After the information was leaked, another agency within the federal government was reportedly notifying states about potential hacking threats. Winner was released from prison earlier this year after serving 63 months following a plea of guilty for leaking classified documents in 2016.
Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis, spoke highly of her daughter saying, “she actually stood up and worked for the American people to give us the truth about an attack on our vote, an attack on our democracy, an attack on our country.”