Leaks: Daniel Hale Persecuted by US for Leaking Drone Assassination Program

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Mon Apr 5 20:47:52 PDT 2021


Drone Whistleblower Case Will Be First Espionage Act Conviction Of
Biden Presidency

Authored by Brett Wilkins via via CommonDreams.org,

Press freedom, peace, and human rights advocates are rallying behind
Daniel Hale, the former intelligence analyst who blew the whistle on
the US government's drone assassination program, and who pleaded
guilty Wednesday in federal court to violating the Espionage Act.

The Washington Post reports Hale, who was set to go on trial next
week, pleaded guilty to a single count of violating the 1917 law that
has been used to target whistleblowers including Julian Assange, John
Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Jeffrey Sterling, Reality
Winner, and others.
Daniel Hale

Hale was charged in 2019 during the Trump administration after he
leaked classified information on the US government's targeted
assassination program to a reporter, who according to court documents,
matches the description of The Intercept founding editor Jeremy
Scahill. He is the first person to face sentencing for an Espionage
Act offense during the admnistration of President Joe Biden.

As vice president under President Barack Obama, Biden contributed to
the creation of whistleblower protections in the Dodd-Frank Wall
Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, while simultaneously
serving in an administration that, while promising "a new era of open
government," relentlessly targeted individuals who revealed US war
crimes and other classified information.

Kiriakou—a former CIA agent who under Obama was sentenced to 30
months' imprisonment for exposing US torture—told Kevin Gosztola that
he is "dissappointed that Daniel Hale's case was continued in the
Biden Justice Department."

"I had hopes that Biden's Justice Department appointee would recognize
the public service that Daniel Hale provided when he revealed
illegality and abuse in the drone program," said Kiriakou.

Hale, who was an intelligence analyst for the US Air Force before
moving on to the National Security Agency and then the National
Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, "knowingly took highly classified
documents and disclosed them without authorization, thereby violating
his solemn obligations to our country," according to a statement from
Raj Parekh, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of
US Air Force image

According to Gosztola, Hale's whistleblowing led to the revelation by
The Intercept that "nearly half of the people on the U.S. government's
widely shared database of terrorist suspects are not connected to any
known terrorist group," details on how the Obama administration
approved targeted assassinations, and information about Bilal
el-Berjawi, a Briton "who was stripped of his citizenship before being
killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2012."

The Post reports that Hale admitted in court to writing an anonymous
chapter in Scahill's 2016 book, The Assassination Complex: Inside the
Government's Secret Drone Warfare Program, which divulged information
taken from top-secret documents about drone strike protocols, civilian
casualties, and Pentagon officials' debate about the accuracy of

"These documents detailed a secret, unaccountable process for
targeting and killing people around the world, including US citizens,
through drone strikes," Betsy Reed, editor-in-chief of The Intercept,
said after Hale's indictment. "They are of vital public importance,
and activity related to their disclosure is protected by the First

Hale had initially centered his defense on First Amendment grounds,
and his numerous defenders condemned his prosecution as a violation of
press freedom and freedom of speech. His lawyer, Jesselyn Radack,
issued a statement saying "the U.S. government's policy of punishing
people who provide journalists with information in the public interest
is a profound threat to free speech, free press, and a healthy

    Daniel Hale was my roommate when we were in the Air Force. A kind
and caring person who promised his life in defense of this nation and
its values.

    The people conducting secret illegal killings in other countries
are criminals.

    Standing up for human rights makes Daniel a hero. https://t.co/8tBN4uA7oP
    — Jon Ivy (艾森) (@jonivy) April 2, 2021

"Classified information is published in the press every day; in fact,
the biggest leaker of classified information is the US government,"
wrote Radack. "However, the Espionage Act is used uniquely to punish
those sources who give journalists information that embarrasses the
government or exposes its lies."

"Every whistleblower jailed under the Espionage Act is a threat to the
work of national security journalists and the sources they rely upon
to hold the government accountable," she added.

Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the women-led peace group CodePink,
tweeted that it's "outrageous that drone whistleblower Daniel Hale
will be going to prison for exposing the drone murders by the U.S.
military. Why don't the murderers go to jail? Or the ones who ok the
murders? Or the ones who make the killer drones and profit from

Hale's sentencing is scheduled for July 13. He faces up to 10 years
behind bars. Kiriakou told Gosztola that he hopes the judge
"recognizes the good in what Daniel Hale has done and gives him the
lightest possible sentence."

More information about the cypherpunks mailing list