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Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With Leaking Classified Information

Daniel Hale faces five criminal counts for allegedly providing information about U.S. counterterrorism operations. A former U.S. intelligence analyst was arrested and charged with providing classified information to a reporter at the Intercept in 2014 about U.S. counterterrorism operations including against al Qaeda, amid a widening U.S. crackdown on media leaks. Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With

Daniel Hale, who is 31 years old, provided the reporter with 17 documents he obtained while working for Leidos, a defense contractor, prosecutors alleged in an indictment obtained in March and unsealed Thursday. The information Mr. Hale shared included documents about terrorism suspects, a presentation outlining U.S. military technical capabilities, and the effects of a U.S. military campaign targeting al Qaeda, the indictment alleged. Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With

An attorney for Mr. Hale couldn’t be reached for comment. A representative for Leidos said the company “is deeply committed to protecting customer information” and that it will continue to fully support the investigation.

The documents and other details in the indictment match the description of a book, documentary, and series of articles about drone warfare written by Jeremy Scahill, one of the founding editors of the Intercept, an online news organization that has written critically of the U.S. intelligence community.

The Intercept said it doesn’t comment on the identity of anonymous sources.

Mr. Hale, who was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force between 2009 and 2013 and assigned to work with the National Security Agency, was charged with five counts, including violations of the Espionage Act and stealing government property. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance later Thursday.

The case comes less than a year after another former U.S. intelligence community contractor, Reality Winner, was sentenced to more than five years in prison for sending classified information to the Intercept. In Ms. Winner’s case, she pleaded guilty to providing the news outlet a document detailing a suspected Russian hack of a Florida election vendor during the 2016 presidential campaign. A third source of classified information to the Intercept, former Federal Bureau of Investigation agent Terry Albury, was sentenced in October to four years after pleading guilty to leaking information about the FBI’s informant-recruitment tactics and efforts to identify political extremists.

While Mr. Hale is accused of leaking information about operations under President Barack Obama, the Trump administration has publicly described a stepped-up effort to prosecute leaks of classified information to reporters. Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With.. Such efforts grew under the Obama administration but the number of cases have accelerated in recent years.

A former Senate staffer was sentenced to two months in jail in December, after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with journalists including a New York Times reporter. A Treasury Department official was arrested in October for disclosing a trove of information about sensitive financial transactions to a reporter at BuzzFeed News. She has pleaded not guilty and is set to face trial next year. 

Ex-Intelligence Analyst Charged With….

“Following in the dangerous path of the Obama administration, the Trump administration is continuing to use the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who enable journalists to uncover disgraceful, immoral, and unconstitutional acts committed in secret by the U.S. government,” wrote the Intercept’s editor in a statement Thursday.

According to the new indictment, Mr. Hale allegedly met the reporter, identifiable as Mr. Scahill, in April 2013 as he was promoting his documentary and book, identifiable as “Dirty Wars,” which was nominated for an Academy Award. Mr. Hale texted his friend soon after meeting Mr. Scahill, according to the indictment, saying the reporter wanted him to “tell my story about working with drones” at the opening of his film.

In February 2014, Mr. Hale asked the reporter: “Are you able to chat?” according to the indictment. The next day, Mr. Hale used his classified work computer to print several documents marked SECRET and TOP SECRET, prosecutors said. Later that day, Mr. Hale asked Mr. Scahill if he could travel to meet him. Mr. Scahill told him he was in Los Angeles for the Oscars, the indictment said. Those documents were later published by the online news outlet, the document said.

Mr. Scahill instructed Mr. Hale to download the encrypted communications tool Jabber to have more secure conversations, according to the indictment. 

The charges against Mr. Hale are the latest in a raft of cases to emerge publicly in recent years detailing how U.S. intelligence agencies have struggled to prevent the theft of sensitive government secrets by employees and contractors, an issue that attracted intense scrutiny following Edward Snowden’s leak of classified files to journalists in 2013 about the NSA’s domestic and international surveillance operations.

Mr. Hale began speaking to Mr. Scahill months before Mr. Snowden’s disclosures, but appeared to be inspired by the stories that emerged as a result of his leaks, according to the indictment. Mr. Scahill sent Mr. Hale an email with a link to an article about Mr. Snowden on June 9, 2013, and Mr. Hale texted a friend his encounter with Mr. Scahill might provide him with “life long connections with people who publish work like this.”

Mr. Scahill is a co-founding editor of the Intercept, an online news organization established in 2014 with the backing of eBay founder Pierre Omidyar. It began primarily as a vehicle to publish classified documents provided to journalists by Mr. Snowden, and has continued to report on secret information about U.S. national security matters.


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