In May 2019, drone whistleblower Daniel Everette Hale was arrested and indicted on allegations that he disclosed classified documents about the U.S. military’s assassination program, believed to have been the source material for a series in The Intercept called “The Drone Papers”. On March 31, 2021, Hale pleaded guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years. On July 27, 2021, Daniel was sentenced to 45 months in prison.

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.

You can read his own words on the crisis of conscience that drove him, articulated poignantly in this letter to the Judge and his statement at sentencing.

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.

For his whistleblowing, Daniel has received the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence, and the Blueprint for Free Speech International Whistleblowing Prize.

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.


  1. Write to Daniel. Daniel's current address is:

    Daniel Everette Hale 26069-075
    USP Marion
    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.

  2. Ask President Biden to pardon Daniel Hale.
  3. Donate to whistleblower legal defense. WHISPeR has represented Daniel since 2014.