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Poor Reality Winner

On Thursday, she was sentenced to over five years in prison, and I feel sorry for her.

Who is she? Maybe one of the most interesting people you’ll read about. She was nine years old on September 11, 2001. She was a straight-A student growing up, and she turned down a full ride to college on an engineering scholarship to enlist in the Air Force. She began learning Arabic on her own when she was 17, and eventually, she became fluent in that and three other languages that very few Americans know. She then spent six years doing extraordinary things to serve and protect her country before she was honorably discharged.

What did she do wrong? As best as I can tell, she printed a classified document that showed that Russia had hacked and was continuing to hack our election systems in the run-up to the 2016 election. Then she mailed it to a news organization. She thought she saw something happening in her country and believed the public had a right to know about it. She didn’t do it for financial gain or personal glory. She didn’t do it to undermine national security. She did it to blow a whistle and protect this republic like she had for six years in the Air Force. And she did it, I suppose, because she was young and idealistic.

Oh, the foolishness of youth.

I bet she doesn’t feel so young anymore.

She was looking at a maximum sentence of ten years in prison, and federal guidelines called for a range of about 7 to 11 years (capped at ten) because they charged her under a law made for spies and traitors.

Even the government has acknowledged that her sentence would be the longest ever served by a federal defendant for spilling something to the media.

See something, say something? I guess it all depends.

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