An indictment was unsealed today charging a former intelligence analyst with illegally obtaining classified national defense information and disclosing it to a reporter. Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Nashville.
According to the indictment, Hale was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from July 2009 to July 2013, during which time he received language and intelligence training. While serving on active duty, Hale was assigned to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) and deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst. After leaving the U.S. Air Force, Hale was employed by a defense contractor and assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), where he worked as a political geography analyst between December 2013 and August 2014. In connection with his active duty service and work for the NSA, and during his time at NGA, Hale held a Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) security clearance and was entrusted with access to classified national defense information.
According to allegations in the indictment, beginning in April 2013, while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the NSA, Hale began communicating with a reporter. Hale met with the reporter in person on multiple occasions, and, at times, communicated with the reporter via an encrypted messaging platform. Then, in February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at NGA, Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work at NGA and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter. Each of the six documents printed were later published by the reporter’s news outlet.
According to allegations in the indictment, while employed as a cleared defense contractor for NGA, Hale printed from his Top Secret computer 36 documents, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA. 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 classified as Top Secret or Secret and marked as such.
According to allegations in the indictment, in August 2014, Hale’s cell phone contact list included contact information for the reporter, and he possessed two thumb drives. One thumb drive contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document that Hale had printed in February 2014 and had attempted to delete from the thumb drive. The other thumb drive contained Tor software and the Tails operating system, which were recommended by the reporter’s online news outlet in an article published on its website regarding how to anonymously “leak” documents.
Hale is 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. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.