Airman says his feelings of guilt over drone strikes prompted him to leak secrets


In this undated file photo provided by the Nashville Police Department is Daniel Everette Hale, who is charged in federal court in Alexandria, Va., under the World War I-era Espionage Act. Hale, a former Air Force intelligence analyst said his guilt over participating in lethal drone strikes in Afghanistan led him to leak government secrets about the drone program to a reporter. (Nashville Police Department via AP, File)

A former US Airman is to be sentenced after he was found to have leaked government secrets about the drone program to a reporter, claiming his time in Afghanistan inspired him to betray his comrades. 

Daniel Hale, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, is scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday in US District Court in Alexandria, having pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act.

Currently residing in the Alexandria jail, the former Air Force intelligence specialist claimed he broke the faith and leaked the information after he was disturbed by what he saw.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t question the justification for my actions,” Hale wrote.

According to ABC News, Hale was tasked with tracking cell phone signals of enemy combatants during his 2012 deployment to Afghanistan and despised the clinical and sterile nature of his work.

“The victorious rifleman, unquestionably remorseful, at least keeps his honor intact by having faced off against his enemy in the battlefield,” Hale wrote. “But what possibly could I have done to cope with the undeniable cruelties that I perpetrated?”

To satiate his discontent, Hale leaked info to a reporter, including data showing that the drone program was nowhere as precise as it is often claimed to be.

“He committed the offense to bring attention to what he believed to be immoral government conduct committed under the cloak of secrecy and contrary to public statements of then-President Obama regarding the alleged precision of the United States military’s drone program,” defense attorneys Todd Richman and Cadence Mertz wrote.

His lawyers are currently requesting he be sentenced to 12 or 18 months behind bars, far below the sentencing guidelines. 

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