The sentencing hearing for whistleblower and former Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale is scheduled for July 27th at 9am in Alexandria, VA. In 2014, Hale disclosed documents to The Intercept’s Jeremy Scahill, exposing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s secret drone assassination program. Sign up to attend the hearing and learn more about the case here.
The files were the basis for the 2015 series “The Drone Papers” and the 2016 book “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Program.”
Hale was charged with five counts under the Espionage Act, each of which carry a 10-year prison sentence. He argued that the Act, which doesn’t allow defendants a “public interest defense” in which they can explain their motives, violated his First Amendment rights, an argument the court rejected. Facing an all-but-guaranteed conviction and a half a century in prison, Hale pleaded guilty to one count under the Act.
Attorney Jesselyn Radack says that the government is seeking 7-9 years in prison for Hale, which would be at least 2 years longer than the sentence given to NSA whistleblower Reality Winner, currently the longest prison term for a whistleblower in federal court.
New York Magazine has published a profile of Hale today, recounting what lead him into the Air Force and exploring the motives for his disclosure which the court has refused to hear.
There was a graphic of the “kill chain,” the bureaucratic process through which Obama approved a strike: little yellow arrows pointing on a diagonal all the way up the page, landing at POTUS. There was further evidence that when military-age males were murdered in a strike, they were classified as militants, an accounting trick that lowers civilian-death counts, and there was an account of a five-month period in Afghanistan in which U.S. forces hit 19 people who were targets of strikes and 136 who were not the targets. There were admissions that the intelligence on which strikes were based was often bad and that strikes made it difficult to get good information because the people who might have provided that information had just been killed by the strike. There was the report detailing the secret rules the government uses to place people on the terrorist watch list. “Each thing that I would discover would lead to something else,” Daniel said, “something more.” Together, these documents form a picture of a country vacuuming up massive amounts of information and struggling to transform that information into knowledge. One gets the sense that the Obaman air of “certainty” and “precision” around drones is possible only if one has considerable distance from the process.
Learn more about Hale’s case, how to write to him, and how to show your support at StandWithDanielHale.org.