Reality Winner leaked a classified document about Russian interference in the 2016 election, and her treatment and sentence was much harsher than for those indicted on similar crimes. I suspect the cyberattacks were aimed at Russians trying and possibly succeeding at changing election totals, because I don't see what else makes this case so important. CBS News:
Reality Winner sat down with 60 Minutes and detailed how she leaked an intelligence report about Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections. She printed the document labeled TOP SECRET, placed it in her pantyhose underneath her dress, and walked out of the building.
While she's not allowed to talk about the content of the document, she did say it caused at stir at her NSA office at Fort Gordon.
Reality Winner was charged under the Espionage Act in a case that dragged on for more than a year. Created initially during WWI to catch spies and enemies of the country during wartime, the Espionage Act began to shape shift and take on a new role during the Obama administration: to catch suspected leakers. Because alleged leakers during trial are prohibited from discussing the classified information they shared, or the reasons they shared it, the Espionage Act has become an effective tool for the government to prosecute suspected leakers of what the Act calls "national defense information."
[...] Most of those charged with leaking are released until trial, but prosecutors used her personal diary entries to get the judge to deny her bond. Prosecutors alleged the entries showed sympathy towards the Taliban, which she denied – and a desire to burn down the White House which she explained as "angry ramblings of a 24-year-old."
She thought the American people had a right to know about what the Russians did to hack the election. I agree.