GOVERNMENT MOVES TO BLOCK ALLEGED DRONE WHISTLEBLOWER’S DEFENSE IN ESPIONAGE ACT CASE | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

GOVERNMENT MOVES TO BLOCK ALLEGED DRONE WHISTLEBLOWER’S DEFENSE IN ESPIONAGE ACT CASE

Yet, while the U.S. government hopes to ensure Hale cannot put on a whistleblower defense during his trial, Hale’s defense attorneys have directly challenged the constitutionality of the Espionage Act, arguing [PDF] it violates the First Amendment. They also assert that the government is selectively and vindictively prosecuting Hale for his alleged act of dissent.

Hale was indicted on five counts on May 9. Three of the charges allege he violated the Espionage Act. One charge alleges he disclosed “communications intelligence” without authorization. The fifth charge alleges he stole “government property.”

In October 2015, The Intercept published a “cache of secret documents detailing the inner workings of the U.S. military’s assassination program in Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia.” The media organization said the documents were provided by a whistleblower and offered “unprecedented glimpse into [President Barack] Obama’s drone wars.” They were called “The Drone Papers.”

These are the documents that the government accuses Hale of disclosing without proper authorization to the public.

Justice Department prosecutors approach the leak prosecution without any regard for the civilians killed by U.S. drones in the past several years. They disregard, for example, how the CIA’s “worst kept secret” is that the agency operates drones in countries like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen.

“The defense likely will want to argue that, even if the defendant engaged in the conduct alleged, he had good reasons to leak the documents at issue and is being unfairly prosecuted under criminal statutes that carry significant penalties,” the government declares in their motion to the court [PDF]. “Any such arguments, however, would be entirely improper.”

Prosecutors add, “Any attempt to inject a necessity, whistleblower, or similar motive for the defendant’s conduct is irrelevant.”

Attorneys for Hale counter with the argument that the legislative history of the Espionage Act was “absolutely clear.” It was drafted with the “confidence that it would never be used to criminalize actions undertaken to inform the American public.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I sincerely hope, that attorneys for Hale, are allowed to go forward with their defense.

Otherwise, this nation has collapsed into a black hole of dictatorship, from which it can never re-emerge.

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