Hale is a veteran of the US Air Force. During his military service from 2009 to 2013, he participated in the US drone program, working with both the National Security Agency and the Joint Special Operations Task Force at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. After leaving the Air Force, Hale became an outspoken opponent of the US targeted killings program, US foreign policy more generally, and a supporter of whistleblowers. He publicly spoke out at conferences, forums, and public panels. He was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary National Bird, a film about whistleblowers in the US drone program who suffered from moral injury and PTSD. Hale based his criticisms on his own participation in the drone program, which included helping to select targets based on faulty criteria and attacks on unarmed innocent civilians.
Daniel is currently serving his sentence at USP Marion, in Illinois. His projected release date is July 5th, 2024. He is currently placed in the Communications Management Unit (CMU) within USP Marion. These units severely restrict and heavily monitor communications and visitations. CMUs have been heavily criticized for their Kafkaesque violations of due process, and widespread religious and political profiling.
Daniel will be serving more than 3.5 years in prison for contacting the press about a matter of extreme public importance that has been shrouded in secrecy. But the larger concern is not what Hale did or didn’t do but what our government has been doing. For almost two decades, they have used a veil of secrecy to deny the American public the basic right to informed debate and consent. Government officials have repeatedly lied about nature and the extent of drone assassinations. No one has ever been held accountable for these lies, or for the war crimes they have enabled.
Daniel is a whistleblower who has enriched the public’s knowledge about matters of grave civic concern. It is unconscionable to use a law supposedly aimed at actual spies and saboteurs, against individuals who act in good faith to bring government misconduct to the attention of the public.
HOW TO HELP
Write to Daniel.
Daniel's current address is:
Daniel Everette Hale 26069-075
P.O. Box 1000
Marion, Illinois 62959
Use plain white paper, no cards, with black or blue ink, handwritten or printed. Use standard size envelopes, no packages.
You can send up to 6 pages, double-sided.
Please use your full legal name and a physical address as the return address, not a P.O. Box. Also be aware that Daniel can't respond to group or organizational letters, only to individual persons.
Daniel can receive photos (in color) in the mail, fun memes, transcripts (such as of interesting podcasts) and printouts of news articles. He is hoping for articles you found compelling, work out routines to help pass the time, and words of affirmation!
Hand drawings are allowed, and we encourage them.
Paperback books, magazines, and newspapers can be sent directly from the publisher (or from Amazon). * Daniel has received a generous inundation of reading materials – he sends his thanks, and asks to hold off for now unless you get a specific request from him.
The Bureau of Prisons website has more details on mail policy, but be aware that mail is sometimes rejected for seemingly arbitrary reasons.
Daniel is one of at least eight alleged media sources to be criminally prosecuted — and the fifth to be charged under the Espionage Act — during the Trump administration. And this was the first such case to be sentenced under the Biden administration.
Trump’s Department of Justice built upon the Obama administration’s notorious War on Whistleblowers, taking an already draconian effort to the next level. The Justice Department made every effort to prosecute leaks even more aggressively, reopening old cases (including Daniel’s), and even creating a dedicated FBI counterintelligence unit to hunt down leakers. They placed government employees under increasingly heavy surveillance, with the intention of clamping down on their First Amendment right to free speech. The Trump administration obtained lengthier prison sentences for whistleblowers than any previous president.
Transparency and civil liberties advocates and members of Congress have called on the Biden administration to change course and to consider clemency for these cases, but so far we have seen little evidence of any change in policy.
With the Wikileaks indictment, the U.S. government also expanded the War on Whistleblowers to directly attack publishers and journalists, a move that the Obama administration had ultimately backed down from. The Biden administration decided early on to maintain the U.S. government’s appeal to extradite Julian Assange.
We object to the use of the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who provide information of important public interest to the media. We call for the end of such abuses of the Espionage Act.
IN THE NEWS
Photo by Eleanore Goldfield, courtesy of Backbone Campaign