On Tuesday, Daniel Hale, a former US Air Force intelligence analyst, was sentenced to 45 months in prison for leaking secret information about the government’s drone attack program to a journalist.
In April, the former analyst pleaded guilty to violating the Espionage Act for leaking classified information on the use of US combat drones abroad under the administration of former President Barack Obama.
Hale argued that he believed the military drone program was indiscriminately killing civilians in Afghanistan far from the battlefield, so he was motivated by guilt when he made his disclosures to an investigative journalist.
For his part, Federal District Judge Liam O’Grady told the convict that he could have taken other options besides sharing classified information with the reporter.
US prosecutors demanded that Hale go to prison for nine years, but the judge likely issued a lower sentence after considering the former analyst’s mental health problems.
Hale acknowledged printing and giving a journalist several secret documents while serving as a contractor at the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA). Although the name of the receiver is not specified in the court documents, the details of the case show that it is Jeremy Scahill, a reporter for The Intercept.