Daniel Hale Wins 2021 Sam Adams Award

The drone whistleblower in Afghanistan last month was sentenced to 45 months in prison under the Espionage Act.

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

The Sam Adams Associates on Monday released this statement about the winner of its 2021 award:


The Sam Adams Associates are pleased to announce drone warfare whistleblower Daniel Hale as the recipient of the 2021 Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence.  Hale — a former Air Force intelligence analyst in the drone program — was a defense contractor in 2013 when conscience compelled him to release classified documents to the press exposing the criminality of the U.S. targeted assassination program [“We kill people based on metadata” — Michael Hayden, former Director of CIA & NSA].

The leaked documents — published in The Intercept on Oct. 15, 2015 — revealed that from January 2012 to February 2013, U.S. special operations airstrikes killed more than 200 people. Of the dead, only 35 were the intended targets. For one five-month period of the operation, according to the documents, nearly 90 percent of the people killed in airstrikes were not the intended targets. The innocent civilians — who were often bystanders — were routinely categorized as “enemies killed in action.”

On March 31, Hale pled guilty to a single count under the Espionage Act, carrying a maximum sentence of 10 years.  In July, he was sentenced to 45 months in prison for revealing evidence of U.S. war crimes.  In a hand-written letter to Judge Liam O’Grady Hale explained that the drone attacks and the war in Afghanistan had “little to do with preventing terror from coming into the United States and a lot more to do with protecting the profits of weapons manufacturers and so-called defense contractors.”

Hale also cited a 1995 statement by former U.S. Navy Admiral Gene LaRocque: “We now kill people without ever seeing them. Now you push a button thousands of miles away … since it’s all done by remote control, there’s no remorse … and then we come home in triumph.”

During his military service from 2009 to 2013, Daniel Hale participated in the U.S. drone program, working with the NSA and JSOC (Joint Special Operations Task Force) at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. After leaving the Air Force, Hale became an outspoken opponent of the U.S. targeted killing program, U.S. foreign policy in general, and a supporter of whistleblowers. He spoke out at conferences, forums, and public panels. He was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary National Bird, a film about whistleblowers in the U.S. drone program who suffer from moral injury and PTSD.

The Sam Adams Associates wish to salute the courage of Daniel Hale in performing a vital public service at great personal cost — imprisonment for truth-telling.  We urge an end to the War on Whistleblowers and remind government leaders that secrecy classification systems were never intended to cover up government crimes. To that end, the public’s right to know about their government’s wrongful actions — including the adverse consequences of policies carried out in their name — must be respected and preserved.

Hale is the 20th awardee of the Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence. His distinguished colleagues include Julian Assange and Craig Murray, both of whom are also unjustly incarcerated for truth-telling.  Other fellow Sam Adams Award alumnae include NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake; FBI 9-11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley; and GCHQ whistleblower Katharine Gun, whose story was recounted in the film Official Secrets.  The full roster of Sam Adams awardees is available at samadamsaward.ch.

Details about the upcoming Sam Adams Award ceremony will be announced soon.

10 comments for “Daniel Hale Wins 2021 Sam Adams Award

  1. Mark from Faraway
    August 24, 2021 at 17:26

    I’ve been moved beyond any place visited before. the comments on article have broken my heart into a million grateful pieces. this is healing.

    I’ve pasted article comments in replies this thread, below. read them, this is us this is the finest of our sons and daughters, those who are my Brothers and Sisters in arms that have been broken, shattered, humbled and with great fearlessness giving fully their best effort to repair.

    please read the comments in reply below, at this time they number 9.

    and if you are not moved beyond tears then you may rest assured that, no doubt, you are part and parcel the entirety of our country’s problem.

    this is the definition of courage by man humbled due his wrong action.
    this is honorable and worthy the full measure of my most professional salute and enduring deep respect.

    be well, Brother, stay strong and beautiful while you continue to fight the good fight in the name of our war damaged collective soul.

    We the Soldier can do little else of matter in comparison.

    I can only close with this-

    we, the Soldier, can attain no higher result in correcting our failure to do the right thing.

    This Man has honored his direct ancestor, Nathan Hale, in expressing the one true regret a Soldier can properly express, that we only have but one life to give for our true belief, which was not the delusion of righteous participation in wrong war, rather it is found in the self sacrifice for that which transcends belief in us, that there is correct morality in the fight to destroy evil and all its intents and purposes. That is the soul compromise by the real Soldier, and none but God have the authority to judge nor capacity to forgive such.

    may God protect this Man, his newborn son, his family and all else that is important to him.

    and may God have mercy on all of our souls.

  2. August 24, 2021 at 09:36

    Those who can not be bought are the biggest threat to the system.
    All the Sam Adam Award Winners exposed the truth.
    Where are the so-called Christians????
    Are these men and women not imitating Christ?
    Is life nothing but a Banksy??

  3. August 24, 2021 at 09:05

    In a righteous world The Sam Adam Award winners would be applauded
    and given a ticker tock parade.

    Nothing changes but the time and the weather.
    History dictates that there is nothing new under the sun.
    Two cliches that have become an American mantra of cognitive dissonance.
    The Empire of Lies will implode even with it’s greatest diversion;
    the propagandized so called free press and it’s folly the cell phone.
    Keeping the masses self serving and ignorant until karma slams
    their narrow world view.

  4. Yes Xor No
    August 24, 2021 at 05:29

    Well, there’s another thing they can’t take from you Daniel, neither your self respect nor the Sam Adams award.

    § 17.22 Classification of information; limitations, section (d)

    Information shall not be classified in order to conceal inefficiency, violations of law, or administrative error


  5. August 23, 2021 at 22:34

    To sacrifice yourself to help others is the definition of a hero. Daniel Hale fits this definition; he is a hero. He knew what would happen, if he released information about the US government drone killing activities and atrocities. He knew that our current government is out of touch and does not like the light of day. He knew it wants its activities hidden from view and he knew it will do anything to keep its misdeeds from the public it is supposed to serve.
    Thank you, Daniel, for your courage. Thank you for being an American.

    Mike Wolff

    PS: To all of you in the military/industrial complex, who may read my comments herein and who are involved in the drone killing programs: What are you doing to your soul? What happened to your conscience? Where is your courage? Whether you direct the drones and pull the trigger, whether you work in maintenance or support, whether you design and build the drones, it is time for you to stand up, it is time for you to say “No more!”.

  6. dave
    August 23, 2021 at 21:12

    Well deserved!

    Free Daniel Hale, free Julian Assange, free Craig Murray and all political prisoners!

  7. Nathan Mulcahy
    August 23, 2021 at 20:51


  8. August 23, 2021 at 20:01

    This seems like an award lately only been given to folks who either are in jail or will be soon enough. Please don’t give it to me.
    I hope the dignified Mr. Craig Murray is getting by day-by-day while he is in prison. I hope he has some who are caring for his welfare who can make a difference. I’m caring for it from a distance, and while that is worth something, it ain’t worth much. So, maybe somebody else is looking out for his welfare because the man has a new child recently bought into the world and he does not deserve to be where he is….there will be consequences.
    I don’t think Daniel Hale deserved to be imprisoned, but that is the fate of whistle blowers these days ain’t it. That in and of itself tells one much. Time for things to change and frankly if harm comes to those who have been imprisoned for telling the truth, then the snake I know about will wrap around so tight you wouldn’t believe it…..you wouldn’t believe how tight it could be and how quick it could happen. In a heartbeat or maybe quicker than that. You wouldn’t believe so I won’t try to explain.
    Old ideas, when they start dyeing, they die quick….so quick it can be hard to keep up with it all….but good riddance to these old 20th century ideas. Good riddance and begone. We know who you are and we know who has been perpetuating suffering of innocence. Honestly – we know.
    We are coming to get you!
    As for Julian Assange, a man of integrity, I hope his heart is strong. I send my strength to him, but if the man don’t get into a safe house soon, then he will be dead. Whether it is self-inflicted or not makes no difference because he will have been killed by the “State” if it comes to this. If it does, then there will be hell to pay because we know and we are fedup.
    I hope and I pray it doesn’t come to that, but the facts are rolling in and Lady Libra is having a temper tantrum and it is justified!
    Hold onto you hats! As for Lady Dorrian the audacity she has to propose trial with no jury ought be all you need to know about HER. She is vindictive and she should be the one in jail. She is a shame upon all the jurisprudence worldwide.

  9. Patricia Tursi, Ph.D,
    August 23, 2021 at 15:28

    I recall reading about the high PTSD from drone operators seeing the damage they inflict whereas the old method of planes didn’t see the carnage Have they changed the visual impacts? What a brave thing Daniel to do. I wonder is Daniel is related to Nathan Hale: “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

    • Coleen Rowley
      August 24, 2021 at 11:35

      Yes, he is reportedly a direct descendent of Nathan Hale.

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