Leaks: Daniel Hale Gets 4 Years For Exposing US Drone Murder

grarpamp grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu Jul 29 04:08:58 PDT 2021


Daniel Hale, a former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst, was
sentenced to 45 months in prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to
leaking a trove of government documents exposing the inner workings
and severe civilian costs of the U.S. military's drone program.

All while Government Murder remains not
even arrested or even ended.

Daniel Hale sentenced to 45 months in prison

Supporters for Daniel Hale, outside the courtroom in Alexandria, VA.

Whistleblower Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison
today, for disclosing government documents on the U.S. military’s
drone program to a journalist. The sentence—three years and nine
months—includes his time served during court proceedings and will be
followed by three years of supervised release.

Before he was sentenced, Hale read a powerful and intensely emotional
speech to the court, condemning the horrors of war, particularly the
post-9/11 U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and drew attention to
Iraqi and Afghan victims of the U.S. drone assassination program. He
said he opposes war for the same reasons he opposes the death penalty,
saying it’s wrong to kill and especially wrong to kill the
defenseless. The U.S. often posthumously labels those it kills as
“combatants,” and Hale said that sometimes up to 90% of victims in a
given airstrike are unidentifiable.

Hale recounted the day he plead guilty to one count under the
Espionage Act. He biked to the Capitol that day, to the Department of
Justice, and to the war memorials on the National Mall. He noticed
there was no monument to mark the end of the Iraq War, and he said the
most powerful memorial is for the Vietnam War, consisting of a long
black marble slab engraved with the names of dead American soldiers.
“If the memorial included the names of the Vietnamese dead,” he said,
“it would be four miles long.”

Hale said that he is a descendant of Nathan Hale, who spied on British
troops for the United States in the Revolutionary War, and who was
executed following his own espionage conviction more than two hundred
years ago. Daniel Hale echoed the famous sentiment of his ancestor in
his speech: “My only regret is that I have but one life to give to my
country, whether here or in prison.”

Hale talked about the “moral injury” war inflicts on soldiers. He said
a fellow member of the Air Force once said to him about drone strikes,
“You ever step on an ant? That’s what we’re doing.” He talked about
how this weighed on him, how it “tore [him] up inside” to the point of
“nearly giving up.” Hale said,

    “I am here because I stole something that was never mine to take —
precious human life. For that I was compensated and given a medal. I
couldn’t keep living in a world in which people pretended that things
weren’t happening that were. Please, your honor, forgive me for taking
papers instead of taking human lives.”

Judge Liam O’Grady took note of Hale’s widespread support, mentioning
that several dozen people, including former members of the military,
journalists, and others have written letters to the judge calling for
leniency and considering Hale a hero. Judge O’Grady himself said that
Hale deserves credit for the time he spent after his Air Force service
in informing the public about U.S. warfare, but said that he could’ve
done so without disclosing documents to the reporter. O’Grady noted
this case raises the issue of the intersection of the First Amendment
with national security interests, and said that he needed to deliver a
substantial sentence to act as a deterrent against those whom Hale
might inspire.

O’Grady sentenced Hale to 45 months in prison, to be served in
northern Virginia.

Following the proceedings, a press conference was held outside the
courtroom. CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou applauded Hale for acting
on his morals, and said there could be “no sentence that will deter
someone who knows in their soul that a crime is being committed. There
will always be people with a conscience.”

Chip Gibbons, with Defending Rights and Dissent, condemned the double
standard applied to media leaks: “If Daniel Hale had leaked documents
that supported” U.S. military action “rather than exposed it, he
wouldn’t be in prison today.”

Jesselyn Radack, herself a former whistleblower and a member of Hale’s
legal team, said “Daniel rejects the notion that he is a hero or a
victim.” What he wants the public to know and talk about, she said,
are the victims of the wars he tried to expose. NSA whistleblower
Thomas Drake, who has been through an Espionage Act prosecution,
lauded Hale’s personal sacrifice, knowing what he could face but doing
the right thing anyway.

As the official remarks concluded, the crowd chanted a call for
President Biden to pardon Daniel Hale.

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