Former airman working for the NSA charged with giving classified information to a reporter

(U.S. Air Force photo by J.M. Eddins Jr.)

A former intelligence analyst was charged by the Department of Justice with obtaining classified defense information and leaking it to a reporter.

Daniel Everette Hale was arrested earlier this morning in Nashville, Tennessee, and is expected to make a court appearance in the city’s federal courthouse.

Hale, who held a top secret clearance, served as an enlisted man from 2009 to 2013, where he received language and intelligence training. Assigned to National Security Agency as an asset, he deployed to Afghanistan.

After leaving the USAF in 2013, Hale took a job as a contractor with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), where he worked as a political geography analyst for just under one year.

According to unsealed indictment paperwork, Hale reportedly began communicating with a reporter in 2013, meeting in person and communicating via encrypted messaging platforms for around one year before he printed off classified documents on the reporter’s behalf.

“Hale printed from his Top Secret computer 36 documents, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA,” the DOJ reported. “Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were marked as Top Secret or Secret.”

Hale did a poor job covering his tracks and was eventually caught.

Since his arrest, Hale has been charged with obtaining national defense information, retention and transmission of national defense information, causing the communication of national defense information, disclosure of classified communications intelligence information, and theft of government property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, though sentencing tends to be more lenient.

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