A former Air Force intelligence analyst says he leaked government secrets about the U.S. drone program in Afghanistan to a reporter because he felt guilt over participating in deadly strikes. Daniel Hale has pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act.
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — A former Air Force intelligence analyst said his guilt over participating in lethal drone strikes in Afghanistan led him to leak government secrets about the drone program to a reporter.
In court papers filed Thursday, Hale’s lawyers asked that he receive a 12- to 18-month sentence, which would be well below sentencing guidelines.In an 11-page handwritten letter from the Alexandria jail where he’s being held, Hale outlines what led him break the law, describing his regret and horror as he saw gruesome videos of Afghans killed in part because his work helped track them down.
He said when he deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, his job was to track down cellphone signals linked to people believed to be enemy combatants.“Not a day goes by that I don’t question the justification for my actions,” Hale wrote.ADVERTISEMENTHis guilt is compounded by the clinical nature of the drone strike program, in which Afghan targets are killed going about their daily lives — at times with innocent civilians killed as collateral damage — rather than on a traditional battlefield.
“The victorious rifleman, unquestionably remorseful, at least keeps his honor intact by having faced off against his enemy in the battlefield,” Hale wrote. “But what possibly could I have done to cope with the undeniable cruelties that I perpetrated?” headtopics.com
As a result, he said, his conscience compelled him to disclose details about the program to an investigative reporter he had previously met. The documents showed, among other things, that the drone program was not as precise as the government claimed in terms of avoiding civilian deaths.
Hale leaked the documents after he left the Air Force and had taken a civilian job with a contractor assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, where he worked for a brief stint in 2014 as a toponymist, using his Chinese language expertise to help label maps.
Hale’s lawyers argue in court papers that his altruistic motives, and the fact that the government hasn’t shown any actual harm occurred from the leaks, should be taken into account for a light sentence.“He committed the offense to bring attention to what he believed to be immoral government conduct committed under the cloak of secrecy and contrary to public statements of then-President Obama regarding the alleged precision of the United States military’s drone program,” defense attorneys Todd Richman and Cadence Mertz wrote.
ADVERTISEMENTProsecutors, though, say the classified documents’ disclosure had the potential to cause serious damage. In sentencing papers, prosecutors Gordon Kromberg and Alexander Berrang write that documents leaked by Hale were found in an internet compilation of material designed to help Islamic State fighters avoid detection. headtopics.com
“(A)s a result of Hale’s actions, the most vicious terrorists in the world obtained documents classified by the United States as “Secret” and “Top Secret” — and thought that such documents were valuable enough to disseminate to their own followers in their own manuals,” Kromberg and Berrang wrote.
The prosecutors say that Hale’s leaks were more serious than those made by Reality Winner, a former National Security Agency contractor who received a five-year sentence, the longest given to a whistleblower prosecuted for leaking classified documents to a journalist under the Espionage Act.
Prosecutors don’t request a specific prison term but say an appropriate sentence would be “significantly longer” than the 63 months imposed on Winner. Read more: The Associated Press »
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Imperial military logic: where its considered wrong to expose wrongdoing like casually murdering civilians in other countries, but not considered wrong to casually murder civilians in other countries. daniel hale is a hero and he did the right thing when he leaked the drone papers he didn't do anything wrong
The only good troop Hero! He did leak said documents, which demonstrated the US drone program kills were 9 out of 10 times innocents. You are helping to cover those war crimes. Shame. Amerikkka! ☹️ He is a hero Shouldn’t he be protected under whistleblower protection laws?
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A former Russian Air Force intelligence analyst leaked government secrets about Russia drone program in Afghanistan to reporters. He’s a hero. A person should never have to pay for his good conscience. FreeDanielHale FreeAssangeNOW The drone program is against intl law. But of course in this backwards country the person that reveals it’s dirtyness goes to jail.
A former Air Force intelligence analyst says he exposed U.S.'s evil drone program in Afghanistan to a reporter because he felt guilt over participating in deadly strikes. Daniel Hale has pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act which protects government terrorism activities. Whoever authorized these secret drone murders is the one who should serve time. I wonder who that is 🤔
👑 Another hero who will be treated like a criminal. Pardon the whistleblowers
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Hero GrownRoom People with actual principles should probably avoid military service. This is a man who cares about the future of his country, good for him. He is a hero. FreeDanielHale hero When is the government going to plead guilty over their war crimes with drone strikes? Is this soldier a maga q-anon Jesus? The new Reality Winner for the right?
The empire is immoral. If this happened during the Trump administration the left would be praising the shit outta this guy but during Obama it's jail son Its good that we know where our tax dollars are going. Killing people like cowards from a drone is not something I signed up for, yet because I pay taxes, I'm complicit. Every american should do their best to legally avoid taxes. Its our patriotic duty. Hale did the right thing.
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He's actually a true hero....not the ones who go and kill innocents whom the military calls collateral damage. This is why I’m nervous about younger generation. Snowden leaked for spying through computers. Younger generation never experienced the threats of Russia, China etc. Some don’t read or understand history. They don’t want to know bc they grew up in a bubble of protection.
Put him away for life. What a jerk. Lock him up for life!! I'll salute this troop o7 And the reporter exploiting the naive gets off scott free K810Mt Absolute hero ❤️👍 Poor excuse! Cernovich He did nothing wrong. Free this hero!
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God bless you. Regardless of man's judgment of you, know that God loves you and He is the conscience you responded to. He alone will give you peace and strength to get through this. He's a hero, and should be given a medal, not a criminal record and prison time. Shame on this country. He did the right thing I’m sure many more will follow his footsteps. what is the definition of intellectual property protection?
JoshMankiewicz But when rich & powerful people do espionage, they’re ‘unregistered foreign lobbyists.’ Fuck this oppressive empire What was Isis going do with drone footage of their buddies getting wrecked? I hate that argument The Taliban thank you for your service. “Prosecutors, though, say the classified documents’ disclosure had the potential to cause serious damage.” The *potential*. But, his leaks actually *didn’t* cause harm.
May God reward you for you good deeds in heaven! This is yet another attempt by Washington to discredit & punish the Whistleblower instead of WarCrimes. The letter of the law has become out of balance with the spirit of the law in an ongoing effort for the powerful to maintain their secrets. conscience morality FreeHale
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Idiot. He’ll make a fine addition to the federal prison system. 👍 He should have know not to believe the drone program accuracy & some of those ensuring the accuracy of it. Furthermore, words like honor & integrity don't mean much to some of today's military personnel as those words meant long ago.
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