U.S. Air Force veteran Daniel Hale was arrested May 9 in Nashville, Tenn., and charged under the Espionage Act for leaking documents that expose the U.S. drone warfare program and crimes the Trump and previous administrations have committed in Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen.
The U.S. drone warfare program is run by the USAF, CIA, National Security Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and, of course, private contractors like Leidos. In 2018 that company had 32,000 employees and $10.19 billion in revenue. The drone warfare program is a major money maker for the military-industrial complex (MIC).
Like so many working-class youth, Hale joined the USAF “out of desperation, because I was homeless.” (Washington Post, May 9)
Hale served during 2009-13 and was assigned to work at the NSA. During 2012 he was stationed at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, where he was responsible for identifying, tracking and targeting drone attacks. After he was discharged, he worked as a defense contractor intelligence analyst at Leidos and was assigned to the NGA, a pattern typical of how the MIC web works.
According to his indictment, Hale, a member of About Face (previously Iraq Veterans Against the War), is charged with providing “Secret and Top Secret” documents to a reporter and an “online news outlet.” The documents concern the drone warfare program and so-called counterterrorism operations.
In October 2015 the online investigative website Intercept published “The Drone Papers,” and in April 2016 investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill published “The Assassination Complex: Inside the Government’s Secret Drone Warfare Project.” Also in 2016 Hale was featured in the award-winning documentary “National Bird” on drone warfare whistleblowers.
Daniel Hale faces 50 years imprisonment for revealing that drone warfare not only kills a “target” but anybody nearby. He exposed the “kill chain” — when “intelligence specialists” like himself sit thousands of miles from battle as they analyze live drone video; communicate in instant-message chat with jet fighter pilots, operators of armed Predator and Reaper drones, and ground troops; and pass along secret “kill” orders from higher-ups who authorize assassinations.
Like Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and other military veterans who testified at the Winter Soldier hearings on Vietnam (1967) and Iraq (2008), Hale spent years deep inside the MIC and was driven to expose what he took part in and what he saw.
Support Daniel Hale. He is guilty of nothing.
Indict and imprison the real war criminals!
The writer is a member of Veterans For Peace.