The District Court of Alexandria, Virginia on Tuesday sentenced former Air Force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale to nearly four years in prison. He was charged under the Espionage Act for leaking secret documents on the Obama administration’s clandestine drone strike operations in 2014 and 2015.
The documents, which were published in October, 2015 by The Intercept, exposed the horrific details of U.S. drone warfare in Somalia, Yemen, and Afghanistan, as well as a rulebook on how the U.S. government adds individuals to its terror watchlists and locates them. In March, Hale pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Espionage Act.
It’s frustrating to see that the Biden administration is continuing to use the Espionage Act to crack down on whistleblowers, especially at a time when government accountability and responsible national security policies are urgently needed. For the past two decades, the so-called “War on Terror” has undermined the rule of law and provided cover for the executive branch to wage secret, unconstitutional wars with impunity. Charging those who expose this injustice as spies is not the answer — the administration must pursue meaningful accountability and an overhaul of U.S. counterterrorism policies.