(ConservativeHub.com) – Tales of well-intentioned individuals leaking classified information are nothing new. Chelsea Manning, formerly Bradley Manning, served prison time from 2010 to 2017 for forwarding sensitive documents to WikiLeaks. Edward Snowden fled to Russia in 2013 after leaking highly classified data from the National Security Agency (NSA). Whatever their intentions, though, their actions have had real-world consequences for individuals and ongoing US government operations.
On Tuesday, July 27, former US Air Force enlistee Daniel Everette Hale received a 45-month prison sentence for disclosing classified information to a reporter working for The Intercept, a news organization focused on in-depth investigative journalism.
According to court records, Hale communicated with the unnamed reporter and turned over several classified documents throughout 2013 and 2014 while on assignment at the NSA and as a defense contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. ISIS reportedly used Hale’s disclosures to avoid US strikes.
A former Air Force intelligence analyst who once helped find targets for deadly U.S. drone strikes has been sentenced to 45 months in prison for leaking top-secret details about the program. https://t.co/JvAOfdsSmj
— NBC News (@NBCNews) July 28, 2021
Hale wrote an 11-page letter to the presiding judge explaining his actions before his sentencing hearing. According to the letter, he suffered from post-traumatic stress and depression related to his deployment to Afghanistan in 2012 as part of his Air Force service. Continuing, he detailed his work tracking the location of cell phones “believed to be in the possession of so-called enemy combatants.”
His letter spoke of the guilt he felt as he “laid in wait” for an opportunity to “kill unsuspecting persons” through the use of drones. He said he didn’t think the people he targeted for death posed a risk to him or anyone else.
Hale’s lawyer told reporters his client “acted out of conscience,” and his disclosure was of “vital public importance.” It appears the judge didn’t completely buy that line of reasoning, but his sentence did fall short of the 11-year maximum term he could have handed down.
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