Reality Winner Out Of Prison, Looking For Validation

Reality Winner Out Of Prison, Looking For Validation

Reality Winner Out Of Prison, Looking For Validation

CBS’s 60 Minutes has decided to take the lead in rehabilitating the image of Reality Winner, the convicted national security secret leaker.

Remember Reality Winner (yes, still her real name) after all these years? In 2017, she was caught leaking classified information to The Intercept regarding Russian hacking attempts during the 2016 election. Apparently she was very easy to track down, as she was one of only six people to print the document. When confronted by the FBI, she ended up admitting to the crime. Reality Winner spent four years in federal prison as a result (though her sentence was for five years), and was released this last June. She will now spend three years on probation.

However, 60 Minutes decided to take the Reality Winner interview in directions that will cast the former federal contractor in the best light possible. The entire interview can be seen here.

Let’s look at how 60 Minutes tried to spin her into a tragic victim of the EEEEEEEEVIL Trump administration’s punitive prosecution, instead of a traitor who arrogantly believed that she could start leaking classified intelligence because she knew what was best for everyone.

1) 60 Minutes calls Reality Winner a “whistleblower.”
Have a look in their coverage of her conviction under the Espionage Act.

When a National Security Agency whistleblower leaked a document related to Russia’s cyber spying, she says she never expected that she would be charged with espionage herself. Now Reality Winner’s high-profile case has resurrected a debate over prosecution of national security leakers.”

Insert record scratch here. Reality Winner was not a “whistleblower.” As we have talked about on this blog before, the label “whistleblower” has certain legal protections attached to it. There are also certain procedures that HAVE to be followed. Reality Winner did nothing of the sort. She simply saw classified intelligence, decided that she should tell the media, printed it up, and mailed it to The Intercept. She’s no hero, and she’s not a whistleblower, either.

2) 60 Minutes points out how long Winner’s sentence was, much longer than others.
In the interview, Scott Pelley notes that Reality Winner got a much harsher penalty than others who have leaked classified information.

It’s worth noting how inconsistent the government is in these cases.”

In 2008, Gregg Bergersen, a Pentagon employee, was convicted of selling secrets to the Chinese. He was seen in FBI surveillance getting his pocket stuffed with cash. His sentence was six months shorter than Reality Winner’s. In 2012, former Army general and CIA Director David Petraeus gave notebooks of top secret information to an author who was his mistress. He was charged with misdemeanor mishandling of classified information and never spent a minute in jail.”

We here at Victory Girls also noted that Reality Winner had seen Hillary Clinton mishandle classified intelligence with zero punishment, and former FBI Director James Comey also leaked information with no punishment. And yet Reality Winner got a five year sentence, 60 Minutes says. Well, maybe Hillary Clinton, David Petraeus, and James Comey should have had harsher punishments instead of getting special treatment. The problem isn’t Winner’s punishment, it’s that the others weren’t punished at all or very lightly.

3) Reality Winner claims that she leaked the information because she loves her country. We have the receipts.
60 Minutes really lets Winner have her own say here, despite the fact that she was supposedly barred from making public statements back in June, and has her lawyer sitting off-camera to make sure she doesn’t say anything that will land her back behind bars.

Reality Winner: I am not a traitor. I am not a spy. I am somebody who only acted out of love for what this country stands for.”

Um, well, that’s not what it looks like when you look at her social media history. She loathed Donald Trump, and wasn’t shy about blasting that all over Twitter. She also planned on how she was going to play the media once she was caught.

But sure, NOW she says she “acted out of love.” While she sits and plays the media for all they are worth. And her mom is sitting next to her, sticking up for her and selling the same bill of goods.

Billie Winner-Davis: What Reality did was not espionage. What Reality did was patriotism. 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. And I’m very proud of her for that.”

That wasn’t patriotism. That was a federal crime. No one died and made Reality Winner the arbiter of what should or should not be leaked to the media.

4) 60 Minutes makes a big deal about Winner’s Air Force service to burnish her image.
Reality Winner was apparently an accomplished linguist while she served in the Air Force.

Scott Pelley: How many languages do you speak?”

Reality Winner: Farsi, Dari, and Pashto.”

Scott Pelley: These are the languages of Afghanistan and Iran.”

Reality Winner: Yes.”

While her lawyer stops her from saying much more, Winner was stationed at Fort Meade, Maryland, where 60 Minutes says she was eavesdropping on communications in Afghanistan.

She didn’t discuss her mission with her mother, Billie Winner-Davis.”

Billie Winner-Davis: Only one conversation that I had with her did she ever let on how heavy her work was. I’ll never forget, because she said, “You know, when you’re watching somebody on your screen and that person goes ‘poof,’ you’ve gotta make sure that you’ve got everything right.”

Both 60 Minutes and Winner’s mother paint her as a veteran who had a high-stress job, who was also worn down by depression and bulimia. While those are serious issues, and things that Winner says she also struggled with in prison, along with drug abuse, it is her credentials as a veteran that allow both 60 Minutes and her mother to claim that leaking classified documents was the right thing to do. That’s not how this works.

The reality (rim shot here) is that Reality Winner wants to be validated by the media as a noble patriot who was branded a traitor. The media, who love any excuse to put “Trump” and “Russia” in the same sentence, gladly obliged here. Give her a few more years (after probation) and Reality Winner will likely be a panelist on MSNBC or something like that. Sorry, I’m not buying what she’s selling. Oh, and something 60 Minutes doesn’t mention – she has her own documentary now, and her family is campaigning for Joe Biden to pardon her. Hmmm, I wonder why they didn’t mention that?

Featured image: Reality Winner in 2015, image via Wikimedia Commons, cropped, Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

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  • Cameron says:

    She had at least two or three resources that she could have contacted anonymously and said “Hey, I saw this and I think it’s wrong.” From there, it would have been investigated. But she thinks that she’s the Lone Voice Crying Out In The Wilderness and figured she would be a hero.

    She speaks that many languages but is most fluent in dumbass. She’s lucky that her sentence was that short.

  • GWB says:

    I am not a traitor. I am not a spy.
    Well, she’s right on the first (as defined in federal law). But she’s slightly wrong on the second one. You don’t have to provide classified information directly to enemy agents to be guilty of espionage. Handing them to someone who would print them in full view of our adversaries would be plenty for that.
    But note that she doesn’t say she isn’t guilty of espionage which is broader than “being a spy.”

    What Reality did was not espionage. What Reality did was patriotism.
    Wrong on the first one. Wrong on the second one. What she did fits the definition of espionage perfectly. It’s why she went to jail. And it was not patriotism. Because she was trying to subvert the duly elected Commander In Chief solely because she didn’t like his politics. (It ain’t Trump that divided this country, it’s the progressives who have poured their doctrinal filth into the heads of so many people through the education system and our media.)

    who was also worn down by depression and bulimia
    IOW, she had at least a couple of signs of an insider threat. That’s what the training I have to do every year tells me. Hmmmmmm, and she didn’t self-report? There’s another indicator.
    along with drug abuse
    Hmmm, was that just in prison, or yet another indicator of insider threat?

    it is her credentials as a veteran
    Her credentials as a “veteran” are “convicted of espionage” and no longer technically a veteran because of it.

    her family is campaigning for Joe Biden to pardon her
    Wouldn’t surprise me at all if that happens. Just another brick in the wall.

  • Dietrich says:

    With that picture she went from “pretty, white, cute” to “hardened lesbian convict” rather quickly.

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