Miltiary member who leaked TOP SECRET docs to a reporter sentenced to federal prison

Source: Nashville Police, Unsplash

Jul. 28 2021, Published 4:26 p.m. ET

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Tennessee military member who worked for the National Security Agency was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for leaking top-secret docs to a reporter.

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Daniel Everette Hale, 33, began communicating with a reporter beginning in April 2013 while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the National Security Agency, according to federal court documents.

Hale admitted to meeting with the reporter in person on multiple occasions and communicating with them via phone, text message, email and an encrypted messaging platform.

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In February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter, according to federal prosecutors.

Each of the six documents was later published by the reporter’s news outlet.

Prosecutors did not name the outlet when they announced the sentence this week.

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While employed as a cleared defense contractor, Hale printed 36 documents from his Top Secret computer, including 23 documents unrelated to his work, according to court documents.


Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published the documents in whole or in part.

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Eleven of the published documents were marked as "Top Secret" or "Secret," according to prosecutors.

In August 2014, Hale’s cell phone contact list included contact information for the reporter.

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He also possessed a thumb drive that contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document that Hale had printed in February 2014 and had attempted to delete from the thumb drive, prosecutors noted.

In addition, Hale had another document on his home computer that was stolen from NGA.

Hale pleaded guilty to retention and transmission of national defense information on March 31 and was sentenced this week.


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