Former NSA/NGA Analyst Indicted For Leaking Classified Documents To Reporter

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A 31-year-old Tennessee man was arrested on Thursday over allegations that he illegally obtained and then leaked classified national defense information to a reporter, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

Daniel Everette Hale of Nashville worked as a NSA intelligence analyst while deployed to Afghanistan, after which he worked for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) – where he worked as a political geography analyst between December 2013 and August 2014. 

While assigned to the NSA during active duty for the Air Force, Hale allegedly began communicating with a reporter for an unknown news outlet – meeting with them “on multiple occasions,” while also communicating via an encrypted messaging platform. 

After his shift from the NSA to the NGA, Hale is accused of printing six classified documents unrelated to his work in February 2014, which 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. -DOJ

According to the indictment, the reporter was listed in Hale’s cell phone contact list, and he possessed two thumb drives – one of which contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document that he had printed in February, 2014, and later attempted to delete from the drive. 

The other thumb drive contained Tor software – commonly used to access or exchange information on the ‘dark web’ – which were recommended by the reporter’s news website in an article notifying people how to leak documents. 

While the reporter isn’t named, MintPress News‘ Whiteney Webb and others have deduced that it was The Intercept‘s Jeremy Scahill.

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, according to the DOJ. 

Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison, however the DOJ notes that actual sentences for such crimes are typically less than the maximum. 


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