Reality Leigh Winner
Ever since RootsAction.org began seven years ago, we have supported -- with petitions, sharing of key information, news conferences and financial assistance -- brave whistleblowers who’ve faced government repression. Early on, in 2011, we started advocating for the release of Chelsea Manning, and since then RootsAction has provided a range of support for such whistleblowers as Thomas Drake, John Kiriakou, Edward Snowden, and Jeffrey Sterling. A key principle is that democracy cannot really exist without the informed consent of the governed.
Now, we’re proud to share with you the following letter. It was written to RootsAction members by Billie J. Winner-Davis, the mother of Reality Leigh Winner, a former employee of an NSA contractor who has already been in jail for nine months without trial. The government’s treatment of Reality Winner is shameful, vindictive and indefensible.
While RootsAction opposes the current widespread efforts to inflame tensions and conflicts between the world’s two nuclear superpowers, we are also committed to civil liberties and the public’s right to know. We hope that you will consider writing to Reality Winner and making a donation to her family to help sustain them during their ongoing ordeal.
With best wishes,
The RootsAction.org Team
To all who will listen,
On June 3, 2017 my daughter Reality Leigh Winner was arrested and jailed and later charged under the Espionage Act for allegedly releasing a top-secret document to a media outlet, The Intercept. The document analyzed information about Russian online intrusions prior to the 2016 presidential election. Reality had been employed by a contract agency and worked at the NSA in Augusta, Georgia following her honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force in December of 2016.
Reality has pleaded not guilty to this one charge, and her defense team is working furiously to defend against the Espionage charge, but the Court in Georgia continues to rule against Reality at every turn. Reality has been denied pretrial bail and awaits trial in a small county jail in Lincolnton, Georgia.
The impact this has had on Reality and our entire family is devastating. Because of her special diet, Reality’s nutritional and medical needs are not met in jail. She has been spontaneously denied mail, books, and visits. In order to assist in her defense, she must be transported to the Federal Courthouse in Augusta, Georgia and spends up to 12 hours in full shackles and is strip-searched multiple times during the day.
I took an early retirement from my career with Child Protective Services in Texas and relocated to Augusta in hopes that my living there would satisfy the Court and assure Reality bail. Being 1,700 miles away from home and incurring the costs of two households has been a financial strain, but it at least gives me the opportunity to visit with my daughter on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and to advocate for her. My husband and oldest daughter also travel to and from Georgia for significant court hearings, meetings, and visits with Reality.
Please write to Reality at:
Reality L. Winner Inmate # 3342
Lincoln County Jail
PO Box 970
Lincolnton, GA 30817
A GoFundMe account is also set up to assist the family with expenses and to enable us to advocate for Reality. To help, please click here.
We are fortunate to have many supportive people and organizations that have come forward to stand by Reality and be a support to us. Reality receives letters and postcards from all over the world with encouraging messages. The Courage to Resist organization has set up a Friends of Reality Winner Campaign, which does fundraising for her legal defense and public awareness events. There are several Facebook pages and Twitter accounts which help increase awareness and build support.
To learn more about how to help and support Reality and our family, please visit the following sites, pages, and Twitter accounts:
* Friends of Reality Leigh Winner FB Group
* Friends of Reality FB Page
* @StandbyReality Twitter
Reality is an extraordinary woman and she remains very strong, despite the situation she is in. I remain forever grateful to all who have written her and continue to support her. There are some very good people out there and this has been one of the blessings to come out of this struggle. As the days pass, our hopes for a quick resolution have disappeared, and I am now realizing that we have a very long and hard battle ahead of us. Reality needs support long term and I am hoping that she will have this.
Billie J. Winner-Davis
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>> Kevin Gosztola, Shadowproof: “In Reality Winner’s Case, Defense Seizes Upon FBI Testimony to Bolster Motion to Suppress Statements”
>> Democracy Now: “Mother of Accused NSA Leaker Reality Winner: My Daughter Wasn’t Read Her Miranda Rights”