A former intelligence analyst with the U.S. Air Force was arrested in Nashville yesterday for illegally obtaining and passing classified national-defense information to a reporter.
The indictment says 31-year-old Daniel Everette Hale of Nashville, who received language and intelligence training as an enlisted airman with the Air Force from 2009 to 2013, was deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst.
The indictment details multiple incidents of Hale’s delivering or transmitting sensitive or classified documents to the unidentified reporter while he was entrusted with access to classified information regarding national defense.
It claims Hale began meeting with the reporter in April 2013, while he was still in the Air Force and assigned to the NSA. Hale was said to have met with the reporter in person and occasionally communicated through encrypted messaging platforms.
In February 2014, then a cleared defense contractor for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Hale printed six classified documents and exchanged several messages with the reporter. All six documents were later published by the reporter’s news outlet.
While at the NGA, Hale printed 36 documents from his Top Secret computer, including 23 documents unrelated to his work there. Of those 23, Hale provided at least 17 to the reporter and/or the reporter’s online news outlet, which published them either in their entirety or in part. Eleven of those were either Top Secret or Secret.
Hale is charged with obtaining, retention and transmission of national defense information, causing the communication of national defense information, disclosure of classified communications intelligence information, and theft of government property. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Hale makes his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Nashville.