The Department of Justice has unsealed an indictment this morning for Daniel Everette Hale, of Nashville, Tennessee.  Hale was enlisted in the US Air Force from 2009-2013.  He became a Language Analyst, and was assigned to work at the National Security Agency from December 2011 through May 2013.

He served as an Intelligence Analyst in Afghanistan for a Department of Defense Joint Special Operations Task Force from March 2012 through August 2012.  Hale held a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance.  After leaving the Air Force, Hale worked for a defense contractor, Leidos.

Hale is charged with five counts related to obtaining classified information and giving classified information to an unnamed reporter.  According to the indictment, this information was then published by the reporter on an Online news outlet, as well as in a book written by the reporter.

The unnamed reporter Hale is alleged to have given information to is likely Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept.  Scahill and the Intercept published The Drone Papers in 2015 based on a cache of classified documents obtained by the Intercept.  Scahill also wrote the book The Assassination Complex which was published in 2017.

Hale described having his home searched in 2014 by the FBI in the documentary National Bird.  He was informed at that time he was under investigation for espionage and he states in National Bird that he would “probably get charged with a crime” and would “have to fight to stay out of prison.”

Hale’s attorney, Jesselyn Raddack, is quoted in The Washington Post as saying “the allegations against Hale are allegations of whistleblowing.  The Intercept’s reporting on the US government’s secretive drone assassination program shed much needed light on a lethal program in dire need of more oversight.”

No details are given in the indictment as to how Hale ended up under investigation for leaking classified material.  In video, Hale can be seen sitting with Scahill during a presentation at a book store on June 8, 2013.  The indictment states that on or about June 8, 2013, “Hale sat next to the Reporter at a public event at the Bookstore to promote the Reporter’s book.”  According to the indictment, this occurred before Hale leaked any documents to The Intercept.

Hale is not the first person known to face charges after leaking information to The Intercept.  Reality Winner was sentenced to five years and three months for leaking a classified report to The Intercept regarding Russian hacking of election systems.  Reporters for The Intercept sought confirmation the report was authentic from a defense contractor who informed authorities about it and turned over identifying numbers from the report that revealed Winner as the source of the leak.

Terry Albury, a former FBI agent, was sentenced to four years in prison in 2018 for sharing classified information, likely with The Intercept, according to the Washington Post.  He may have been the source of The Intercept’s series of reports entitled The FBI’s Secret Rules.


Image courtesy of Pixabay

13 thoughts on “Another Whistleblower Indicted

  1. So The Intercept does not protect its sources? Or were these whistleblowers simply sloppy? I suppose that hanging out with Scahill and agreeing to appear in National Bird were not the most prudent choices for Hale, given his provision of a book´s worth of classified documents to The Intercept. There does seem to be a pattern here, however.

    Another question this new case raises is whether, given the US government´s assiduous pursuit of Julian Assange (who is not even a US citizen), they will attempt to extradite Glenn Greenwald and possibly arrest Jeremy Scahill as well…

    1. Thank you for the comments.

      I saw an interesting perspective on Twitter talking about how often these whistleblowers don’t necessarily fully intend to leak information until after they’ve made several opsec mistakes, such as Hale using his work computer to search Scahill, etc, before he obtained any documents. By the time he decided to leak documents, Hale had already left a pretty visible trail (things such as being filmed sitting with Scahill at the book store, etc). Hopefully, Scahill and The Intercept discussed with Hale the risk of his exposure based on Scahill and Hale’s prior interactions before they published the documents he had.

      In Winner’s case, it seems clear the reporters did screw up by allowing the contractor to see the identifying numbers on the report. Were they unaware what the numbers meant? Just in a rush to break the story and careless? An important lesson/reminder for journalists and potential leakers, for sure.

      Regardless of what triggered the investigations, it’s telling and infuriating that people who expose lies and crimes of the government are the ones who end up punished while the lies and crimes just continue.

      I think that if the US government can find a way to charge any journalist for obtaining classified information, the US government is going to use it. As in Assange’s alleged ‘aiding’ Manning to break passwords. Got to keep journalists scared along with the whistleblowers to ensure those lies and crimes stay in the dark.

      1. I have seen some pretty scathing criticisms by progressives of Glenn Greenwald online, especially as regards what is alleged to be his refusal to release most (95%?) of the Snowden files for purposes of profit. If true, it´s all pretty damning. I admit that it is also a bit disturbing that Scahill´s latest published book comprises essentially Hale´s leaks, for which Hale will likely pay with his freedom. I am actually a big fan of Scahill´s Dirty Wars and admire his courageousness. I have also always had a positive view of Greenwald, but these developments do cause one to pause… No one should not be profiting from leaks at the expense of the whistleblowers–it should be a not-for-profit public service to inform ignorant citizens about what is being done with their federal taxes. Has neoliberalism poisoned even the possibility of dissent?

    1. Agreed.
      I too greatly appreciate Scahill’s Dirty Wars and Blackwater, both books have been invaluable to my research. I have, for the most part, appreciated Scahill and Greenwald’s work but, as you say, developments do cause one to pause.

  2. I think James Corbett did a quality expose’ on Scahill a few years ago. It’s unfortunate that the manipulation runs this deep; but I think we can all recognize that it does… and maybe even deeper. At any rate, I think these whistleblower testimonies are extremely important, even if they are corrupted, CIA-conceived or genuinely released but co-opted to become limited hang-outs. With any such scenario it reveals that there are some very powerful individuals and organizations pulling the strings and getting away with some very disturbing stuff. If we could only get enough information like this out there to elevate the conversation and get people thinking about turning away from giving their power directly to these psychopaths or their willing (or, often times, unwilling) agents in the media, public trust agencies and politics who are dumbing us down and directing our energy into mindless BS. Bless you Katie for your efforts and your heart driven perspectives. “Some may argue that this history of the dirty wars, while important, is not essential to the understanding of the modern day operations. After all, the current War on Terror dirty war is being led by different people in a different stage of history. But Valentine’s charge is a serious one; either Scahill is deliberately dumbing down the movie—focusing on interminable close-ups of himself and his reactions, using emotional manipulation to “grip” the audience, pretending to not know about the existence of JSOC in order to dramatize his “discovery” for the audience—or, worse yet, he genuinely doesn’t know this history, and the characters behind it. Either way, as the film’s critics note, the CIA—the organization that has been the lynchpin of all such operations in the past and has a documented history of military assets for plausible deniability in denying involvement in such actions—gets off scot-free in this 90 minute “expose” of the war on terror, only being mentioned once or twice, in passing, with excessive focus on JSOC and Admiral William McRaven.
    Whether the CIA designed this type of limited hangout or not, it plays into their hands to have a supposedly daring documentarian “exposing” the covert war on terror without identifying the parties and people behind it. Simultaneously, it works out well for Scahill and his cohorts, who get to bask in the mainstream attention that this supposedly taboo subject is—for some reason—receiving.
    Whether the public will dare to raise these questions with Scahill in his public promotional events for the movie remains to be seen. Those looking for a response to such allegations would be directed away from Scahill’s Twitter feed, although those looking for pictures of Scahill with various celebrities are encouraged to stay tuned for his latest Twitpic.”

    1. The book Dirty Wars is MUCH better than the movie Dirty Wars. I was glad that I had read the book before seeing the film, which is too focused on transforming Scahill into a celebrity and ended by making him appear more egocentric than he probably is…

    2. I do remember this report of Corbett’s. (I also remember well a former associate’s opinion of Scahill and Greenwald). And it is always important to keep a skeptical eye on any journalist, especially ones operating at this level.

      I think the documentary Dirty Wars doesn’t live up to the book. I can’t discount Scahill considering the information in that book and in Blackwater.

  3. I think the information on Blackwater and other information that Scahill exposes is very important to consider. Similarly so, I think, with Sybil Edmonds and others. Last I checked, Valentine is on the NewsBud team? (I served with one of the Blackwater employees who’s burned body was drug through the streets and hung over the bridge in Iraq. I have a particular disdain for that, Focus on the Family, Scam-Way motherfucker, Eric Prince, and I am very grateful that Dirty Wars brought some of that madness to our attention). Like all of these reporters, I think it’s important we don’t let anyone become a sacred cow. Who knows how or why reporters become compromised and suspect with their handling of information. Most recently, there was the strange withholding by Scahill and Greenwald on the Julian Assange information… because they don’t have enough money to release the full report?? That’s weird.

    1. ” Like all of these reporters, I think it’s important we don’t let anyone become a sacred cow.”

      That is a great way to put it.

      And I agree, it is strange that the Intercept is shutting down reporting on the Snowden docs for “funding reasons.”

      100% agree on Prince. You describe him well.

      As for Valentine on the NB team, I don’t know. I see he’s listed as being on the team on NB’s ever-changing ‘about’ list, but I don’t think he’s producing content for them. Maybe I just haven’t seen it. But, NB has a pattern of listing people who don’t actually ever contribute beyond one or two interviews.

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