Daniel Hale

Daniel is a drone whistleblower who was sentenced to 45 months in federal prison after accepting a non-cooperating plea agreement for allegations that he disclosed classified documents about the U.S. military's assassination program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called "The Drone Papers."



Daniel 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, he 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. He 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.  

Legal case: The state claims that Daniel was committing espionage and initially charged him with five crimes related to the disclosure of classified documents and threatened a maximum of 50 years in prison. However, the reality is that he is a whistleblower who enriched the public's knowledge about matters of grave civic concern.  


Imprisoned Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Honored By International Free Speech Group

The Dissenter

Daniel Hale Receives International Whistleblower Award for Drone Document Leak

The Intercept

Lawmaker wants pardon for Daniel Hale, who leaked drone secrets

The Washington Post

Ilhan Omar Asks Biden to Pardon Daniel Hale for Drone Leak

The Intercept

Drone Warfare Whistleblower Daniel Hale Honored With Sam Adams Award For Integrity In Intelligence

Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence

Daniel Hale Went to Prison for Telling the Truth About US Drone Warfare


Whistleblower Daniel Hale Sentenced To 45 Months In Prison For Exposing The Horrors Of US Drone Strike Programs


How an ex-intel official’s prison sentence exposes the folly of the Espionage Act

Responsible Statecraft

Ex-Intelligence Analyst Is Sentenced for Leaking to a Reporter

The New York Times

Daniel Hale Sentenced to 45 Months in Prison for Drone Leak

The Intercept

Daniel Hale, who leaked information on U.S. drone warfare, sentenced to 45 months in prison

The Washington Post

“Committing the Truth”: Whistleblower Daniel Hale to Be Sentenced Tuesday for Drone Program Leaks

Democracy Now

Facing 11 years in prison, a former intel analyst condemns ‘undeniable cruelties’ of Afghanistan drone strikes

The Washington Post

Facing Years in Prison for Drone Leak, Daniel Hale Makes His Case Against U.S. Assassination Program

The Intercept

Former Air Force Intelligence Analyst Daniel Hale Explains Why He Leaked US’ Drone Secrets

The Sparrow Project

Ex-airman: Guilt over drone strikes prompted to leak secrets

Associated Press

US Government Seeks Harshest Sentence Ever In Leak Case Against Drone Whistleblower

The Dissenter

Daniel Hale exposed the machinery of America’s clandestine warfare. Why did no one seem to care?

New York Magazine

New Yorkers Rally for Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

World Beyond War

Judge Reduces Burden On Prosecutors In Espionage Act Case Against Drone Whistleblower

The Dissenter

Daniel Ellsberg on Whistleblowers Julian Assange, Daniel Hale, Reality Winner, Ed Snowden & Others

Democracy Now

Snowden: Daniel Hale is one of the most consequential whistleblowers - he sacrificed everything

Truth, Dissent, & the Legacy of Daniel Ellsberg: A 50th Anniversary Conference Commemorating the Release of the Pentagon Papers

Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale Jailed Ahead of Sentencing

The Intercept

Daniel Hale Blew the Whistle on the US’s Illegal Drone Program. He’s a Hero, Not a Criminal.


Jesselyn Radack's Statement on Daniel Hale's Pleading

Whistleblower & Source Protection Program (WHISPeR)

Former intelligence analyst Daniel Hale pleads guilty to leaking classified information

The Washington Post

Leakers May Be Worse Than Spies, Gov’t Says

Federation of American Scientists

'Unbelievable': Snowden Calls Out Media for Failing to Press US Politicians on Inconsistent Support of Whistleblowers

Common Dreams

Justice Department says leaking classified information is ‘thievery, not protected speech’

The Washington Post

Lawyers say leaks prosecution violates freedom of the press

Associated Press

Whistleblowers, Journalists, and Free Press Advocates Condemn Espionage Act Charges Against Drone Whistleblower Daniel Hale

Defending Rights & Dissent

The Trump Administration Is Using the Full Power of the U.S. Surveillance State Against Whistleblowers

The Intercept

The Espionage Act and a Growing Threat to Press Freedom

The New Yorker

He Helped Reveal How U.S. Drone Strikes Were Killing Innocents. The Feds Just Charged Him With Espionage.


Former intelligence analyst charged with leaking drone details to news outlet

The Washington Post



Saturday, August 1, 1987



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