JOHN KIRIAKOU: Duping a Whistleblower

What just happened to Daniel Hale is yet another injustice.  

Daniel Hale at a peace protest in undated photo. (DIY Roots Action website)

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

What has happened to whistleblower Daniel Hale is very troubling. A former U.S. Air Force intelligence officer,  he was arrested on May 4 in advance of his July 13 sentencing for blowing the whistle on the U.S. government’s deadly and illegal drone program. 

Justice Department prosecutors maintain that Hale had “violated the terms of his bail.”  In court, his attorneys maintained “there were no violations committed by the defendant as alleged.”  They’re right.  The government is lying.  Daniel explained what happened to me in a phone call from jail.  And what happened is yet another injustice against this hero.  For the record, Daniel is permitting me to make these details public.

Like any whistleblower facing years, or possibly decades, in prison, he is depressed.  He had casually told his therapist a few days before his arrest that he was depressed and did not want to go to prison.  This is, of course, an utterly logical emotion.

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I was depressed when I was awaiting sentencing after blowing the whistle on the CIA’s torture program, and I didn’t want to go to prison either.  The therapist took it upon himself to report Hale to prosecutors as “suicidal” and “a danger to himself.”

He said he wasn’t suicidal and posed no danger to himself or to anybody else.  But he had no idea that the therapist had ratted him out to prosecutors.  A court officer then called Hale and told him to go to the courthouse for a routine urinalysis.  He dutifully went in as ordered, with a full bladder, and was promptly arrested.  He was told that it was “for his own safety.”

Risky Move

William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center. ( website)

Hale is already is facing an uphill battle as he approaches sentencing.  He agreed last month to plead guilty to one count under the Espionage Act for passing classified documents to a reporter, without a sentencing recommendation from prosecutors.  It was a risky strategic move, but one urged by his attorneys. 

He would plead guilty, hope that prosecutors would drop the remaining four charges and hope further that the judge would issue a lenient sentence.  Prosecutors have bandied about the idea of five years in prison.  That’s a long time.  And with a national security crime, Daniel would be ineligible to spend his sentence in a minimum-security work camp.  This isn’t “justice.”

Hale is facing several challenges with which most national security whistleblowers are confronted.  The Justice Department wants to make an example of him to frighten other would-be whistleblowers from going public. The prosecutors want to get him the longest possible sentence to improve their own chances of promotion or of going on to a lucrative career in the private sector. 

The judge has a reputation for being tough in sentencing national-security cases and is unlikely to take pity on him.  And he is represented by public defenders who, although they have great reputations, are overworked and underpaid.  In addition, one of Hale’s attorneys had a recent death in the family and has been out of touch for three weeks.

The prospects for a fair hearing are not good.  How can Daniel Hale, or any defendant, adequately defend himself from solitary confinement or without ready access to his attorneys?  How can any defendant without available cash afford to defend himself in the first place? 

The entire system must be changed, and this can only be done legislatively.  Hoping for the best won’t work.  After all, as they say in business school, hope is not a strategy.

Please write to Daniel Hale.  He told me he is desperate for news articles and asks if he can be sent printouts of articles on politics and international affairs.  He is NOT PERMITTED to receive articles with photos in them, and he is NOT PERMITTED to receive books.  He can be reached at Daniel E. Hale, William G. Truesdale Adult Detention Center, 2001 Mill Road, Alexandria, VA 22314.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act—a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration’s torture program.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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3 comments for “JOHN KIRIAKOU: Duping a Whistleblower

  1. Andrew Nichols
    May 22, 2021 at 04:08

    The therapist took it upon himself to report Hale to prosecutors

    Completely unethical of course.

  2. Realist
    May 21, 2021 at 17:25

    Thanks, Obama. You know, for the fresh air of Uncle Joe’s presidency, truly an American “Spring.” I can hardly count the ways that things have improved for our people and the world. /S

  3. DW Bartoo
    May 21, 2021 at 13:35

    John, yes the ENTIRE legal system is NOT premised upon justice but upon protecting the status quo.

    Were the legal system an honest JUSTICE system, then both the role of money AND the issue of standing would not exist.

    Money not only permits better “legal representation” – if you’ve got it, it provided, by its very possession, a shield against scrutiny to begin with.

    The family behind the opioid deaths of hundreds of thousands of U$ians (negligent homicide or even premeditated murder, if we are scrutually honest) not only evaded/avoided scrutiny for years, but were able to pull some 11 billion dollars to “safety” when they realized that they faced jeopardy yet, still, they will face no likelihood of prison time.

    A honest justice system would proceed from the core understanding that an injustice against any one member of society, however lowly their social position is, in fact, an injury to everyone who is also a member of society.

    Further, the issue of “standing” has no legitimate place in a genuine justice system because “standing” is used, in the current system, to simply make serious challenges to unexamined assumptions, to power, and to privilege.

    Indeed, in an actual justice system, the very idea of ubiquitous secrecy, of claims of “national security” would be understood as often being nothing but efforts to hide criminal behavior or to avoid embarrassment for money or power elites including, far too often corrupt members of the political class.

    In other words, the three political branches (and they ARE political as well as calculating to their own advantage, financially, socially, an in terms of unwarranted privilege such as absolute immunity, and the assumption that they are sacred beings, not only above scrutiny, but above “the law” itself.

    Our legal system, frankly, is one of empty form, and has been so from its beginnings, made manifest as multi-tiered and unrelentingly unfair, prejudiced toward excessive punishment, of which there should be none, for those who reveal criminal, unconstitutional, and unprincipled governmental behavior or hidden policies which constitute crimes against humanity, which is always excused as some noble intent which “went slightly wrong” and “is not who we are”.

    Who is this “we”, we might wonder?

    Collective blame cannot be assigned to elite policies kept hidden or secret that bring this nation into ill repute or so sully any claims it might have of moral principle and principled behavior.

    Yet, the propaganda used, through the M$M, to manipulate understanding primarily relies upon fear-mongering and the inculcation of hatred for whatever monster the empire needs to malign in order to flex its muscle, through war or sanction.

    And no, Madeline, it is emphatically NOT a price worth paying.

    Hale, who should be hailed as a hero, instead is being hounded by the full weight of a corrupt and viciously dangerous power structure hell-bent on world domination.

    What a pathetic monster, mindless and merciless this nation has become.

    We might want to think about and discuss what it might look like and feel like were (little) we together to consider and built a different, sane, humane, and sustainable society that served all it members and not simply the landed gentry and corporate aristocracy, along with the “intelligence” agencies of brutal assassination and economic ruination.

    What might a honest justice system look like?

    How do you imagine it might feel, John, to envision and build, collectively, such a society?

    Your thoughts regarding the creation and realization of such a future would be very much appreciated.

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