Pardon Me, But Why is Reality Winner Still NOT Free?
Each new day begins another 365 days, a blank chapter yet to be written. What will you do today? How will you write your chapter in this time, in this place? The sheer horror of what’s been happening in our country led me to advocacy… to get involved… to “do” something. I am well into my fourth chapter, the fourth year of my story advocating for a young veteran named Reality Winner. Yes, her given name is Reality Leigh Winner. Have you heard of her? If you haven’t, please let me introduce you. Reality is a political prisoner in the United States of America. She has spent four years incarcerated and she’s still NOT free. And how did her story begin?
Reality Winner is a decorated United States Air Force veteran. She has devoted her life to service. Reality was offered a full ride at Texas A&M straight out of high school but she turned that down to instead serve in the United States Air Force from 2010 to 2016 and achieved the rank of E-4 Airmen with the 94th Intelligence Squadron as a gifted linguist. After an honorable discharge for her service, Reality took a position with the NSA as a private contractor at Fort Gordon in Georgia. This is where her nightmare began. Reality released one document to the press vital to the public’s understanding of Russia’s interference into U.S. elections. Reality brought the country the truth. The truth that was being kept from the American people and the states to protect our voting infrastructure. She didn’t hand over secrets about America. She outed Russia. For releasing one document, Reality was charged under the archaic and draconian Espionage Act where there is NO distinction between a whistle blower and a spy. If you are charged under the Espionage Act, you cannot mount a defense. Everything is considered classified. The Trump administration knew It was the only way to silence Reality and NEVER allow the public to hear from her. After being caged in a rural county jail in Georgia for 1 yr and 83 days, denied Miranda, BAIL, and a fair trial... she pled. She pled because the conditions, abuse, and treatment were no longer sustainable. Remember, this decorated USAF veteran, who released information anonymously to the American press, not for money or fame, but to warn, had a dozen armed male FBI agents ambushed her in her home and interrogate her. This very interrogation inspired the play, “Is This A Room”.
It just gets worse from here. Reality’s service to country was weaponized against her. The Trump DOJ, led by Jeff Sessions, painted Reality as a traitor rather than a conscious driven whistle-blower. Her document release was to counter the “fake news” narrative that Russia did NOT interfere into the 2016 Presidential election. And we know what Trump did to his enemies. He usually just fired them, but Reality wasn’t well-connected or rich, so basically, his administration had carte blanche to ruin her. And that they did. Did you know the Trump DOJ actually had a dinner to celebrate her record-breaking sentence!
The document Reality released was proven to be real, which made the information more urgent. Let’s not forget that the Election Assistance Commission, immediately after the release, tweeted out an alert. So they are an independent, bipartisan commission charged with overseeing our elections. They were the first to use the Reality Winner hashtag and issue guidance and recommendations to the states that their infrastructure may be compromised. And as time passed, we learned that more and more states were affected. If that doesn’t show that Reality Winner’s actions were the actions of a whistleblower in the best interest of the American people, I don’t know what does.
And then comes the pandemic. The horrors Reality endured at Carswell Prison during lockdowns were horrendous. Reality contracted Covid, as did many others. The Federal prison system gets a Giant “F” mark for their handling and treatment of human beings during the pandemic. The inmates were confined to their cells and treated inhumanely amounting to torture. Reality did not see the sun, helpless and frustrated and trapped. But, before this young veteran contracted Covid (she has pre-existing conditions which qualified her for Compassionate Release) she was denied. The DOJ was willing to turn Reality’s already ridiculously harsh sentence into a death sentence. Trump’s DOJ in the Southern District of Georgia fought her appeal for compassionate release to the bitter end. The very same court that denied Reality Winner a bail, denied her appeal for release. The 11th Circuit Appeals Court could have ended the trauma for Reality with home confinement. This mirrors the same treatment and tactics since day one. It appears only the well connected made it home.
Reality’s record-breaking sentence will be considered served on Nov 23, 2021. Through good time she earned, she was finally released to home confinement on house arrest on June 2, 2021. She is still in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons. She still faces threat of being returned to prison. After her sentence is finished, Reality will have three years of probation with lifetime restrictions and still hold the title of a convicted felon instead of heroic whistle blower. Her plea agreement will remain in effect, meaning she is still virtually silenced.
Again, we now know that the last administration would go to ANY lengths to hold power; to perpetuate false narratives. Fast forward to the present day. Why isn’t every single person who stormed the Capitol being prosecuted to the full extent of the law? Why aren’t they being charged under the Espionage Act? As America watches insurrectionists being treated with “kid gloves” offered a bail to go on vacations with little to no restrictions and light sentences of probation, the disparity in treatment is glaring.
Reality was silenced by design, charged under the archaic Espionage Act, and locked away from journalists and the American people. Reality’s entire persecution is just like “The Big Lie”. I actually think of Reality serving time in prison as one of the original big lies. The Truth-Teller was painted as a Traitor to keep the fake narrative going about Russia’s interference into the 2016 Election. We were being groomed to accept these falsehoods. Look how The Big Lie morphed into the spin on the capital insurrection and the 2020 election. Trump always plays the victim. In the real story, in the true story, Reality Winner had her 20’s stolen from her just because she made Trump mad. We know he directed his administration to go to ANY lengths to hold onto power.
Russia doesn’t need to do the dirty work anymore. The door was left wide open and we have policymakers that are willing to do it. Aren’t they the true terrorists from within? They flipped the script on Reality, the one person who was willing to lose her freedom to PROTECT the country she loves. She will never be free of the restrictions. First, three years of probation and then a lifetime of what she cannot do and cannot say. Only clemency can end her sentence. Only a pardon can truly set her free.
The injustices I witnessed against Reality Winner activated me. All of us were brought together to fight for what is right because of injustices we see and feel that make us act. Reality Winner is not a cause. She’s a young veteran who deserves to get her life back and try to recover from this trauma. Let’s make Reality Winner’s next chapter a bright one. Please, contact your representatives in government. Contact the Joe Biden administration.
Reality has endured such cruelty over the past four-plus years. This young veteran’s family and family of supporters are asking the Joe Biden administration to do the right thing. Her political persecution must stop now. President Biden, please, it’s time to end this and pardon Reality Winner.
To find out more about the political persecution of Reality Winner, you can visit these links: https://www.standwithreality.org
The Reality Winner Files: https://shadowproof.com/tag/reality-winner/
Reality Winner’s plea agreement: https://standwithreality.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Plea-agreement.pdf
The Dworkin Report: https://www.dworkinreport.com
Interview with Reality Winner’s Lawyer, Alison Grinter, Sister, Brittany Winner and Mother, Billie Winner-Davis
Now Available: This Is A Room Broadway producers, Sally Horchow and Dori Berinstein launch a new podcast, This Is Reality. BPN.fm/THISISREALITY
Play. FBI Interrogation of Reality Winner titled, “Is This A Room”:
Documentary; United States VS Reality Winner: https://www.businessinsider.com/united-states-vs-reality-winner-documentary-fbi-interrogation-2021-3