'Forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives'

IssueOctober - November 2021
News by David Polden

On 27 July, former US air force intelligence analyst Daniel Hale was sentenced to 45 months in prison by a court in Virginia, USA.

Hale, 33, had plead guilty to violating the Espionage Act by sharing government documents relating to targeted drone killings and other abuses in the ‘war on terror’.

Hale spoke in court before sentencing, saying: ‘I believe that it is wrong to kill, but it is especially wrong to kill the defenceless.’ He said he shared what ‘was necessary to dispel the lie that drone warfare keeps us safe, that our lives are worth more than theirs.’

Hale added: ‘Please, your honour, forgive me for taking papers instead of human lives.’

The information Hale shared revealed human rights violations in the preparation of target lists for deadly attacks in which 90 percent of the people killed were not the intended targets.

Hale changed his plea to ‘guilty’ in March because, in the words of his solicitor, he ‘would not have received a fair trial because the arcane Espionage Act does not allow for a public interest defence’.Daniel Hale is to be moved to a federal prison and is asking people to hold off on letters of support until his new address is confirmed. There is a fundraiser to help him with debts incurred during his prosecution, and to build up a ‘welcome home’ fund for his release.