Ex-analyst accused of leaking classified information to reporter

Ex-analyst accused of leaking classified information to reporter
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U.S. officials arrested a former intelligence analyst Thursday over allegations he illegally obtained classified national defense information and leaked it to a reporter, the Justice Department announced.

Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tenn., was taken into custody Thursday morning and is scheduled to make his first appearance in court later in the day. He previously worked at the National Security Agency (NSA) and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and began communicating with a journalist in 2013, according to the Justice Department.

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During his active-duty service and work for the NSA, Hale held a top-secret security clearance for sensitive compartmented information, granting him access to classified national defense information.

Hale began communicating with the reporter while enlisted in the Air Force and assigned to the NSA, meeting on several occasions and talking via an encrypted messaging platform, the indictment said.

Neither the reporter nor the media outlet were identified in the indictment.

While working as a defense contractor at NGA in February 2014, Hale allegedly printed six classified documents unrelated to his duties and gave them to the reporter. The documents were later published by the news outlet where the journalist worked.

Hale later printed 36 documents from his top-secret computer, including 23 documents unrelated to his work at the NGA, according to the indictment. Of the 23 documents, at least 17 were allegedly provided to the reporter or the reporter’s online news outlet and were published in whole or in part. Eleven of the published documents were marked as top secret or secret.

Hale’s cellphone contacts allegedly included information for the reporter, and he had two thumb drives — one contained a page marked “SECRET” from a classified document, and the other contained Tor software and the Tails operating system, which were recommended by the reporter’s news outlet in an article about how to anonymously leak documents.

Hale has been charged with obtaining national defense information, 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.

Updated at 10:35 a.m.