Daniel Everette Hale

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In May 2019, drone whistleblower Daniel Everette Hale was arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed classified documents about the US military’s assassination program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called “The Drone Papers”.[1]

On 31 March 2021, Daniel Hale pleaded guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act and on 27 July 2021 was sentenced to 45 months in prison.[2]

Hale Indictment

In a previously sealed Indictment from the US Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Virginia, unsealed on Thursday 9 May 2019, former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tennessee was charged with giving top secret US defence documents and information to a reporter.

The reporter is not named in the Indictment but is likely investigative journalist and author Jeremy Scahill, according to The Washington Post and other media. Scahill is a founder of the online news site The Intercept.

Hale's 17-page Indictment can be read here.[3]


Daniel Hale served in the US Air Force from July 2009 to July 2013, during which time he was assigned to the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where he worked as an intelligence analyst. After leaving the Air Force, Hale became an outspoken opponent of the US targeted killings program, US foreign policy more generally, and a supporter of whistleblowers. He publicly spoke out at conferences, forums, and public panels. He was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary "National Bird", a film about whistleblowers in the US drone program who suffered from moral injury and PTSD. Hale based his criticisms on his own participation in the drone program, which included helping to select targets based on faulty criteria and attacks on unarmed innocent civilians.


Hale’s arrest came amid a crackdown on leakers to journalists by the Trump administration. Last month, the US charged WikiLeaks' Julian Assange with allegedly helping veteran intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning crack a computer password to steal classified documents. In October, a Treasury Department employee was charged with sharing financial information on targets of the Mueller investigation with BuzzFeed.

Last year, two purported Intercept sources were also prosecuted. Former NSA contractor Reality Winner was sentenced to 63 months in prison for leaking classified information about Russian election interference to The Intercept. In October, former FBI agent Terry Albury was sentenced to four years in prison after he pleaded guilty to making an unauthorised disclosure of national defence information, apparently related to how the FBI recruits informants.[4]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Craig Murray - Political Prisoner of the British StateSpeech30 July 2021Craig Murray"This is selective prosecution. This is political persecution. And I have no doubt whatsoever that I go to jail as a political prisoner" (extract from Craig Murray's speech two days before going to Edinburgh's Saughton Jail).