On Thursday, May 9, an indictment was unsealed against former intelligence officer Daniel Everett Hale. He was charged with multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act, including obtaining secret US government documents and giving them to a journalist. No journalists or news organizations were named in the indictment.
In October 2015, an eight-part series of articles by Jeremy Scahill were published in the Intercept called “The Drone Papers.” The article series revealed the Pentagon has been conducting drone warfare for more than a decade and that President Barack Obama had been running an assassination program out of the White House since at least 2011.
The Intercept reported that between January 2011 and June 2012, drone strikes killed three US citizens in Yemen, including Anwar al Awlaki and his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman Awlaki.
The leaked documents revealed the inaccuracy of drone targeted assassinations. According to the Intercept article, during a five month operation, “nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. In Yemen and Somalia, where the U.S. has far more limited intelligence capabilities to confirm the people killed are the intended targets, the equivalent ratios may well be much worse.”
Daniel Everett Hale has spoken out against the US government’s drone wars under both the Obama and Trump administrations. Hale was arrested on Thursday and appeared in court to face five charges that each carry a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
The timing of the decision to indict Hale is part of the broader offensive on the part of Donald Trump’s Administration against the freedom of the press and the protection of their sources. The Trump administration has recently revived efforts to go after the journalist and WikiLeaks publisher, Julian Assange, and whistleblower Chelsea Manning. The targeting of Assange, Manning and Hale are attempts by the Trump administration to intimidate and silence anyone who dares to speak out and tell the truth about US war crimes and the military industrial complex.
Photo: “MQ-1 Predator, armed with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles” by Lt. Col. Leslie Pratt – afrc.af.mil is in the Public Domain