Former Air Force Analyst Daniel Everett Hale He was sentenced to nearly four years in prison on Tuesday for leaking confidential information about the Pentagon’s drone program to the media.
Senior District Judge Liam O’Grady appointed by former U.S. President George W. Bush sentenced Hale To 45 months in prison, or about half of the nine years in prison that the Biden administration seeks.
Hale33 years old, facing theft and four charges of violating the US Espionage Act, then pleaded guilty in March to one count of breaking the law by retaining and sharing defense information.
In a letter submitted to the Federal Court of Alexandria, Virginia, Hale Say he After witnessing and participating in a U.S. drone attack killing innocent civilians, the material was leaked after being traumatized.
“I began to believe that the drone assassination policy was used to mislead the public into thinking that it could protect our safety,” wrote HaleServed in the Air Force during Obama’s presidency from 2009 to 2013.
Federal prosecutors first filed the charges Hale During the Trump administration in March 2019, the allegations he Leaked more than ten confidential documents he Obtained when employed by a U.S. defense contractor.
The court documents submitted in the case described the leaked materials as “confidential” and “top secret” documents regarding sensitive counter-terrorism operations and military operations.
Although no name was specified in the allegation file, the recipient of the material is believed to be The Intercept online news site, more specifically, its co-founder and reporter Jeremy Scahill.
Some of these documents were published online by The Intercept and included in the books of its staff and Mr. Scahill. Mr. Scahill did not respond to messages seeking his response to the verdict.
“These documents reveal the truth about the secret and brutal U.S. government’s drone warfare, including killings of civilians that are far more common than previously admitted,” said Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept. “The Intercept will not comment on our sources. However, whoever reveals these documents will undoubtedly achieve a lofty public purpose.”
Hale These documents were accessed during their employment with a contractor serving the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) (a component of the Department of Defense). he Work from December 2013 to August 2014.
Among those who agree Hale The American Civil Liberties Union and Edward J. Snowden (Edward J. Snowden) are among the most famous intelligence leakers in modern history.
“Information leaked to the media for public interest should not be prosecuted under the Espionage Act. During this period,” the American Civil Liberties Union said on Twitter. “Daniel Hale Helped the public understand a deadly plan that shouldn’t be kept secret. he It should be thanked, not convicted of a spy. “
“his The crime tells the truth: 90% of the people killed by U.S. drones are bystanders, not intended targets. he Should be awarded a medal,” Mr. Snowden added, who had leaked highly classified documents to the media in 2013.
The sentencing judge said Hale It can be said without breaking the law.
“You will not face jail for talking publicly about drone plans to harm and kill innocent people,” he Say, politics Report“Frankly, you could have become a whistleblower and get all this attention without divulging any of these documents.”
Intercept was launched in early 2014, and a few months later, Mr. Snowden provided its founding editors (including Mr. Scahill) with confidential materials he obtained when he signed with the NSA.
Snowden, 38, was charged with theft and violating the U.S. Espionage Act. Two days after the Justice Department announced the allegations, he fled to Russia and now lives there.
Hale Not the only leaker who has been sentenced for providing confidential information to The Intercept for violating the Espionage Act. Reality Winner, another former NSA contractor, was recently released for leaking a confidential report to the site before the 2016 presidential election. He was released after serving about four years in prison, which involved Russian hackers targeting U.S. voting infrastructure s attack.