Daniel Hale, the whistle-blower who exposed the unknown side of the Barack Obama’s government drone warfare program and its impact on civilians was sentenced to 45-months of imprisonment on Tuesday, in a federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, US.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady who gave the judgment stated that this sentence would serve as a deterrent to others from revealing government secrets.
Hale, 33 was charged with the espionage act after he leaked several confidential documents to one of Interceptor’s journalists in 2015. This was also the same charge Edward Snowden, the whistle-blower of PRISM is accused of.
Hale was a former U.S. Air Force intelligence analyst and was working as a private contractor. The documents he revealed showed that 90% of those killed by the US government’s drone warfare program were innocent people, although classified as “enemies killed in action.” Only 35 of the 200 killed in between January 2012 and February 2013 were intended targets. The documents were published by the intercept as ‘The drone papers.’
Appearing in an Alexandria, Virginia, courtroom, the 33-year-old Hale told U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady that he believed it “was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.” the Intercept reported.
Judge O’Grady said that Hale was not being prosecuted for speaking out the truth but for making public the government’s secret documents and that one had other possible methods of sharing classfied documents with a reporter.
Intercept Editor-in-Chief, Betsy Reed said that their source who had brought forward the documents in question had served a noble cause.
Other well-known whistle blowers such as Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, Daniel Ellsberg, and WikiLeaks are in support of Hale while the Freedom of the Press Foundation condemned the punishment calling it “shamefully excessive.”
Hale is the third Intercept source who was arrested to be put on trial by the US authorities.
John Kiriakou said that since he is charged with the Espionage act he is deprived of the oppurtunity to explain his motivations. “He did it because he was exposing a war crime. He is not allowed to say that. And he really doesn’t have any chance of acquittal, Kirakou said.