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Daniel Hale

NYT Reporting On Airstrikes Should Give Daniel Hale More Credit

The New York Times recently came through with a display of reporting that should be commended. On December 18, the paper announced its release of hundreds of the Pentagon's confidential reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. airstrikes in the Middle East. This follows its high profile investigations into the U.S. drone murder of the Ahmadi family during the Afghanistan withdrawal, and an American strike cell in Syria that killed dozens of civilians with airstrikes. Many journalists will, rightfully, praise the New York Times for its reporting on U.S. airstrikes and the civilian cost. Far fewer will point out how the inhumanity of U.S. airstrikes were first revealed in 2013 by whistleblower Daniel Hale.

Daniel Hale And America’s Unending Persecution Of Whistleblowers

Struggling with the moral injury of taking part in America’s expanding drone wars, Daniel Hale took it as his civic duty to tell his fellow Americans the truth about what was being done in their name. In 2014, the former Air Force member and National Security Agency intelligence analyst leaked 17 documents to The Intercept that provided the basis for a series of articles detailing the full scope of the civilian deaths caused by U.S. drone strikes. Despite being billed by President Barack Obama, whose administration greatly expanded the drone wars, as “exceptionally surgical and precise,” what Hale’s leaks revealed was that not only was that not the case, but that what the U.S. was doing in the Middle East amounted to war crimes.

Drone Whistleblower Thrown In Pen With Terrorists

Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was sent on Sunday to the notorious Communications Management Unit (CMU) at the maximum-security U.S. Penitentiary (USP) at Marion, Illinois to serve a 45-month sentence, rather than to the low-security prison at Butner, North Carolina, where federal Judge Liam O’Grady had recommended he go. Butner is a prison hospital complex, and O’Grady was cognizant of Daniel’s need for psychological therapy to deal with post traumatic stress disorder from his time as a U.S. Air Force drone operator. USP Marion, on the other hand, is a former “Supermax” prison that was built in the early 1960s as a replacement for Alcatraz. It was converted into a CMU to keep terrorists from being in contact with the media.

Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Imprisoned In Unit For Terrorists

Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale, who pled guilty to violating the Espionage Act, was transferred from a jail in Virginia to a communication management unit (CMU) at United States Penitentiary Marion in southern Illinois. He is the first person convicted for an unauthorized disclosure of information to the press to be incarcerated in a CMU, which the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) claims is for terrorists and “high-risk inmates.” The decision may effectively cut him off from his entire support network, including friends and fellow whistleblowers who were by his side as federal prosecutors aggressively pursued charges against him.

Truth Is National Security

Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was sentenced to spend 45 months in federal prison. Once again, so-called justice in this country will subject a person of truth to the desolate confines of prison, not because of the rule of law and justice, but out of a continuing desire to retaliate against those who dare stand up for truth and accountability in our government.

The Nature Of Prosecutors

For the past two weeks I’ve been ruminating about the prosecution of drone whistleblower Daniel Hale, who was sentenced on July 27 in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Alexandria. He was given 45 months in prison. With good behavior and drug and alcohol counseling, it’ll end up being closer to 18 months. I was in the courtroom and witnessed the sentencing and the vindictive behavior of the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Kromberg, who acted as though Hale’s case was a personal slight. Kromberg is also the prosecutor who has feverishly led the extradition case against Julian Assange. There is a myth about prosecutors fighting for justice. But people should know what prosecutors can really be like. They are government employees.  They get promoted when they win convictions.

The Price Of Conscience

The Justice Department coerced Hale, who was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012, on March 31 to plead guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act, a law passed in 1917 designed to prosecute those who passed on state secrets to a hostile power, not those who expose to the public government lies and crimes. Hale admitted as part of the plea deal to “retention and transmission of national security information” and leaking 11 classified documents to a journalist. If he had refused the plea deal, he could have spent 50 years in prison.

Daniel Hale Receives 45-Month Sentence

Drone whistleblower Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison. It was a severe sentence but not the harshest sentence ever issued in an Espionage Act prosecution against a former United States government employee or contractor for the “unauthorized disclosure” of information. The sentence was not what U.S. prosecutors demanded. They wanted Hale to go to prison for nine years, but it is likely Judge Liam O’Grady issued a lower sentence after considering his mental health problems. This case is the first major Espionage Act conviction under President Joe Biden. Hale was a signals intelligence analyst in the U.S. Air Force, who was deployed to Afghanistan and stationed at Bagram Air Base.

Drone War Whistleblower Daniel Hale Remains Steadfast

In a 20-page sentencing memorandum in the case of the United States v. Daniel Everette Hale published on July 19, federal prosecutors argue vindictively that the former Air Force analyst stole classified information in order to “ingratiate himself” with journalists and that a “significant sentence is necessary to demonstrate that the unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime with significant consequences.”

New Yorkers Rally For Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

A press conference was held on Saturday, July 17th on the High Line in New York City to support former Air Force “intelligence” analyst Daniel E. Hale, who faces 10 years in prison on July 27 after releasing government documents revealing atrocities of the U.S. drone program and details of its inner workings, such as the creation of “kill” lists. The event was organized by BanKillerDrones.org and held at an art installation by Sam Durant called “Untitled (drone).” On Tuesday, July 27th, truth-teller Daniel Hale is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court, possibly up to 10 years in prison, after pleading guilty to one count of violating the 1917 Espionage Act. He is accused of providing government documents to The Intercept and of anonymously writing a chapter for the 2016 book, The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.

On The Sentencing And Courage Of Daniel Hale

My next portrait for the Americans Who Tell the Truth project will be Daniel Hale, the former Air Force analyst and drone whistleblower who released classified documents showing that nearly 90% of the casualties of U.S. drone assassination missions are civilians—children, women, workers, farmers, and other people who show up as shadows on drone pilot computer screens and are subsequently rendered permanent shadows. Hale will be sentenced on July 27 in Alexandria, Virginia for the crime of truth telling. In all likelihood he will receive 10 years in prison—surely sufficient time to reflect on the error of his ways, which is, primarily, having an overactive conscience, believing that killing innocent civilians, no matter what the national security excuse, is murder.

Bless The Traitors

Daniel Hale, an active-duty Air Force intelligence analyst, stood in the Occupy encampment in Zuccotti Park in October 2011 in his military uniform. He held up a sign that read “Free Bradley Manning,” who had not yet announced her transition. It was a singular act of conscience few in uniform had the strength to replicate. He had taken a week off from his job to join the protestors in the park. He was present at 6:00 am on October 14 when Mayor Michael Bloomberg made his first attempt to clear the park. He stood in solidarity with thousands of protestors, including many unionized transit workers, teachers, Teamsters and communications workers, who formed a ring around the park.

Duping A Whistleblower

What has happened to whistleblower Daniel Hale is very troubling. A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer,  he was arrested on May 4 in advance of his July 13 sentencing for blowing the whistle on the U.S. government’s deadly and illegal drone program. Justice Department prosecutors maintain that Hale had “violated the terms of his bail.”  In court, his attorneys maintained “there were no violations committed by the defendant as alleged.”  They’re right.  The government is lying.  Daniel explained what happened to me in a phone call from jail.  And what happened is yet another injustice against this hero.  For the record, Daniel is permitting me to make these details public. Like any whistleblower facing years, or possibly decades, in prison, he is depressed. 

Support Jailed Whistleblower Daniel Hale

Hale is a veteran of the US Air Force. During his military service from 2009 to 2013, he participated in the US drone program, working with both the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. 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....

Drone Whistleblower Jailed Ahead Of July Sentencing

A federal judge ordered drone whistleblower Daniel Hale’s arrest, and United States authorities took him into custody. On April 23, Judge Liam O’Grady signed an order suggesting Hale violated the terms of his supervised release. An arrest warrant was issued, and on April 28, he was jailed.  Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan, a different judge than the one who has presided over his case, held a hearing on the alleged “pretrial release violation.” Hale maintained no violation had occurred, yet the court scheduled a bond revocation and detention hearing for May 4. The chain of events came after a “special condition” was added to Hale’s conditions of release—that he submit to “substance abuse testing and/or treatment as directed by pretrial services.”
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