Former Air Force linguist Reality Winner was charged in June 2017 with sharing classified National Security Agency materials with a news organization. Now she’s the subject of an HBO movie.
Sydney Sweeney (”Euphoria”) will portray the 25-year-old whistleblower who leaked classified documents to The Intercept about Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Winner was formally charged under the Espionage Act and sentenced to five years and three months in jail in 2018.
The docudrama, set to debut on May 29, focuses on the investigation into Winner’s motivations behind printing and sharing the documents.
“I’m trying to deploy, I’m not trying to be a whistleblower. That’s crazy,” she says in one scene.
Winner is portrayed in the beginning of the trailer as a quirky, but ordinary person, but as the serious nature of her actions begin to close in the walls around her, her unflappable demeanor slowly dissolves.
In 2019, Tina Satter put together a play, titled “This is a Room,” based on the transcript of Winner’s FBI interview. The play served as the basis for the HBO treatment.
Ultimately, Winner pleaded guilty and served a prison term until 2021, when she was moved to a halfway house.
“Reality” premieres May 29 on Max.
Sarah Sicard is a Senior Editor with Military Times. She previously served as the Digitial Editor of Military Times and the Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, and Defense News.