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.
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