(AP) — A Georgia woman who mailed a secret U.S. report to a news organization faces the “longest sentence” ever behind bars for a federal crime involving leaks to the news media, prosecutors said in a court filing.
Former National Security Agency contractor Reality Winner, 26, is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 23 by U.S. District Court Judge J. Randal Hall in Augusta. She pleaded guilty in June to a single count of transmitting national security information when she worked in Augusta as a translator at an NSA facility.
Winner’s plea deal with prosecutors calls for imprisonment of five years and three months. But the sentencing judge isn’t bound by that agreement. Winner’s crime carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.
In a court filing Tuesday, federal prosecutors in Winner’s case said the 63-month sentence they’re recommending is plenty stiff to deter other government workers from leaking sensitive information, even if it could be tougher.
“The government advises the Court that despite the agreed-upon sentence being below the applicable guidelines range, it would be the longest sentence served by a federal defendant for an unauthorized disclosure to the media,” the prosecutors wrote.
Authorities have never described the report Winner leaked or identified the news organization that received it.