Daniel Everette Hale

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Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale, with his cat, Leila, in Dec. 2020.

Daniel Everette Hale is an American intelligence analyst who is charged with leaking secret documents,[1], having sent classified information about drone warfare to the press.[2][3][4][5][6]

Hale, who held the rank of airman, when he worked for the US Air Force later worked as a contractor for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).[7][8]

The Associated Press noted that Jesselyn Radack, his lawyer, specialized in defending whistleblowers.[8] Radack described Hale as a "classic whistleblower".

On May 19, 2019, the day he pled not-guilty, reporters speculated that Jeremy Scahill, of The Intercept, was the reporter he is alleged to have linked to, and that Scahill used the leaked documents for a widely admired espose on the US use of missile-armed unmanned aerial vehicles, in Pakistan.[9][7][10][11]

On September 18, 2019, prosecutors argued evidence about Hale's motives should not be presented in court.[12]

NPR reported in May, 2019, that, if convicted Hale could receive a sentence of up to 50 years.[7] Hale's sentence, announced in July, 2021, was for three years.[13][14]

In 2021, Hale pled guilty to retaining and transmitting national defense information and was sentenced to 45 months in prison. As of October 2021, he was incarcerated at United States Penitentiary, Marion, Illinois, with a scheduled release date of July 5, 2024.


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  1. Veronica Stracqualursi, David Shortell, Tammy Kupperman. Former intelligence analyst charged with leaking classified docs to reporter, CNN, 2019-05-09. Retrieved on 2019-05-10. “He is accused, in part, of printing 36 documents from his NGA computer in 2014, including 23 unrelated to his duties at the agency, and providing 'at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter's online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were classified as Top Secret or Secret and marked as such.'
  2. Swaine, Jon. Ex-NSA official charged with leaking classified drone documents, The Guardian, May 9, 2019.
  3. Emmons, Alex (May 6, 2021). Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Jailed Ahead of Sentencing.
  4. David Shortell. Former intel analyst pleads not guilty to leaking secret documents, CNN, May 17, 2019.
  5. Goldman, Adam. Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With Leaking Information to a Reporter, The New York Times, May 9, 2019.
  6. Devereaux, Ryan (2021-12-08). Daniel Hale Receives International Whistleblower Award for Drone Document Leak (en).
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Bill Chappell. U.S. Charges Former Intelligence Analyst With Leaking Classified Data To Reporter, National Public Radio, 2019-05-09. Retrieved on 2019-09-29. “The indictment does not identify the reporter by name. But it says the reporter made a documentary about the U.S. military's use of drones and was a scheduled speaker at "a Washington, D.C. restaurant/bookstore" on or about April 29, 2013.” Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Npr2019-05-09" defined multiple times with different content
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ex-U.S. intelligence analyst charged with leaks to reporter, London Free Press, 2019-05-09. Retrieved on 2019-05-10. “The indictment says Hale began communications with a reporter in 2013 while at the Air Force and continued communications after going to NGA. According to the indictment, Hale provided 11 Top Secret or Secret documents to the reporter and his online news outlet. Those documents were later published either in whole or in part.”
  9. Adam Goldman. Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With Leaking Information to a Reporter, The New York Times, 2019-05-09, p. A15. Retrieved on 2019-09-29. “At the agency, prosecutors said, Mr. Hale printed 36 documents from his Top Secret computer. Mr. Hale provided at least 17 of them to the reporter and The Intercept, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were marked as Top Secret or Secret, prosecutors said. The documents appear to be used in Intercept reporting about the military’s use of drones.”
  10. Jameel Jaffer. The Espionage Act and a Growing Threat to Press Freedom, The New Yorker magazine, 2019-06-25. Retrieved on 2019-09-29. “The documents supplied by Hale allowed the Intercept to report—with evidence—that many of the people killed in drone strikes were not targets, that many of the targets were not terrorists, that many of the strikes were predicated on evidence that was thin and unreliable, and that, as to the body counts, the government was assuming, without any basis, that bystanders were 'enemies killed in action.'
  11. Umar Farooq. US: Ex-NSA analyst pleads not guilty to leaking secrets, Andalou Agency, 2019-05-19. Retrieved on 2019-09-29. “The reporter and news outlet that published the documents are not named in the indictment, however, the description matches Jeremey Scahill, one of the founders of the online investigative news site The Intercept.”
  12. Steven Aftergood. A Leaker’s Motives Are Irrelevant, Gov’t Says, Federation of American Scientists, 2019-09-18. Retrieved on 2019-09-29. “Disclosing classified information without authorization is a crime even if the leaker had good intentions and was motivated by a larger public interest, the government said this week. Therefore, any mention of the purpose of the disclosure should be ruled out of bounds in trial, government attorneys argued.”
  13. Christina Carrega, Devan Cole. Ex-intelligence analyst gets more than 3 years in prison for sharing classified information with reporter, CNN, 2021-07-27. Retrieved on 2022-05-19. mirror
  14. Steven Aftergood. Leakers May Be Worse Than Spies, Gov’t Says, Federation of American Scientists, 2019-10-03. Retrieved on 2019-09-29.