Washington, DC - A Tennessee man was sentenced Tuesday to 45 months in prison followed by three years of supervised release for illegally obtaining classified national defense information and disclosing it to a reporter.
According to court documents, Daniel Everette Hale, 33, of Nashville, began communicating with a reporter beginning in April 2013 while enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and assigned to the National Security Agency (NSA). Hale admitted to meeting with the reporter in person on multiple occasions and communicating with the reporter via phone, text message, email and, at times, an encrypted messaging platform.
In February 2014, while working as a cleared defense contractor at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), Hale printed six classified documents unrelated to his work at NGA and soon after exchanged a series of messages with the reporter. Each of the six documents printed were later published by the reporter’s news outlet.
According to court records, while employed as a cleared defense contractor for NGA, Hale printed 36 documents from his Top Secret computer, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA. Of the 23 documents unrelated to his work at NGA, 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. Eleven of the published documents were marked as Top Secret or Secret.
According to court records, in August 2014, Hale’s cell phone contact list included contact information for the reporter. 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. In addition, Hale possessed on his home computer another document that he had stolen from NGA.
Hale pleaded guilty to retention and transmission of national defense information on March 31.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Mark J. Lesko of the Justice Department’s National Security Division made the announcement.
The FBI’s Baltimore Field Office investigated the case.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gordon D. Kromberg and Alexander P. Berrang for the Eastern District of Virginia and Senior Trial Attorney Heather M. Schmidt of the National Security Division’s Counterintelligence and Export Control Section prosecuted the case.