media

Feds charge intelligence analyst with leaking classified material

A Nashville man has been arrested on charges of illegally obtaining classified information and passing it along to a reporter.

Daniel Everette Hale was arrested Thursday morning and was scheduled to appear in federal court in Nashville later in the day. Hale was enlisted in the Air Force between 2009 and 2013, assigned to the National Security Agency and deployed to Afghanistan. After leaving active duty, he was employed by a defense contractor. Prosecutors allege Hale passed along confidential  material to a reporter whose outlet published at least 11 documents market secret or top secret.

Here’s the full release from the Justice Department:

WASHINGTON – An indictment was unsealed today charging a former intelligence analyst with illegally obtaining classified national defense information and disclosing it to a reporter.  Daniel Everette Hale, 31, of Nashville, Tennessee, was arrested this morning and will make his initial appearance today at the federal courthouse in Nashville.  Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers, U.S. Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger for the Eastern District of Virginia and Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore of the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office made the announcement after the charges were unsealed. 

According to the indictment, Hale was enlisted in the U.S. Air Force from July 2009 to July 2013, during which time he received language and intelligence training.  While serving on active duty, Hale was assigned to work at the National Security Agency (NSA) and deployed to Afghanistan as an intelligence analyst.  After leaving the U.S. Air Force, Hale was employed by a defense contractor and assigned to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), where he worked as a political geography analyst between December 2013 and August 2014.  In connection with his active duty service and work for the NSA, and during his time at NGA, Hale held a Top Secret//Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS//SCI) security clearance and was entrusted with access to classified national defense information.

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Reporters threatened with arrest at state Capitol

Reporters covering a protest outside Gov. Bill Lee’s office in the state Capitol on Tuesday afternoon were threatened with arrest if they didn’t leave the building.

“It is our understanding that Highway Patrol officers followed their standard protocol for when the Capitol building closes to the public,” Lee spokesman Chris Walker said in a statement to The Tennessean. “However, we do not condone threatening of arrest to reporters while they are doing their jobs in trying to cover news.”

It’s unclear when it became Safety Department protocol to remove journalists from the building at 4:30 p.m. The first floor of the Capitol houses the govenror’s office, Cabinet members, and the state’s constitutional officers (who are part of the legislative branch). The House and Senate chambers are located on the second floor, where meetings are often held late into the evening.

The protesters were demanding Lee call on state Rep. David Byrd (R-Waynesboro) to resign. Byrd is accused of sexual misconduct with teenage basketball players when he was a girls high school basketball coach in the 1980s.

On the passing of political reporter Rebecca Ferrar (aka ‘Lucifer’ and ‘Becky Bear’)

Rebecca Lynn Ferrar, who died of a heart attack this week at age 72, was given the joshing nickname ‘Lucifer’ during 11 years in Nashville as a reporter on state government and politics for the Knoxville News Sentinel.

She was my professional colleague for those years and a friend both before the newspaper’s management sent her to the state capitol to beef up reporting on state-level government and after they sent her back to Knoxville to shrink such coverage in accord with nationwide media downsizing trends (and, it’s fair to add, to enhance coverage of East Tennessee government and politics).

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Website questions Tennessean story on Boyd

The conservative website Tennessee Star appears torn between its opposition to Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd and its hostility toward The Tennessean newspaper.

The newspaper has broken several important stories recently in the governor’s race, including that Bill Lee’s company has received at least $13.8 million in government contracts since 2012; that Diane Black voted in the Democratic primary in 1996 (when the Clinton-Gore ticket was on the ballot, though her campaign denies she voted for the incumbents); and that Boyd’s company opened offices in Ireland that allowed the business to avoid U.S. taxes.

While the Star has been happy to label Boyd as “La Raza Randy” and claim that the Gov. Bill Haslam is somehow rigging the primary in Boyd’s favor, the report about the “Double Irish” tax arrangement seems to have gotten stuck in the website’s craw.

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Former mayoral candidate and business partner buy Nashville Scene and Nashville Post

The company owned by Nashville entrepreneur and former mayoral candidate Bill Freeman and his longtime business partner Jimmy Webb has acquired the Nashville Scene, the Nashville Post and Nfocus from holding company SouthComm, according to an article in the Scene.

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Fitzhugh names Trace Sharp as campaign press secretary

Press release from Craig Fitzhugh campaign

Ripley, TN – The Fitzhugh for Governor campaign has named Trace Sharp as campaign press secretary. Sharp is a veteran communication specialist having worked in broadcast, print media and economic development in northwest Tennessee before relocating to Nashville several years ago. Sharp has worked on campaigns at every level from local municipal elections, gubernatorial campaigns, congressional races and presidential campaigns.

“I have known Trace for many years, dating back to her time as a local reporter covering Gov. Ned Ray McWherter and state politics. I value her understanding of the issues facing our rural communities, from economic development and infrastructure to how Medicaid expansion would help to address our record number of hospital closures. Trace has been a strong advocate for rural Tennessee much longer than most candidates in this race and we are our honored to have her on Team Fitzhugh,” Fitzhugh said.

In her role as press secretary, Sharp will oversee the 95 county press operations for the Fitzhugh campaign.

“Craig Fitzhugh is a man of his word and a true statesman in every sense. I have covered his career and truly value his commitment to serving the needs of our state’s most vulnerable. It’s an honor to serve and I look forward to sharing Craig’s vision across all 95 counties,” Sharp said.

Note: Sharp blogged on Tennessee politics prior to serving as press secretary to the Democratic campaigns of Mike McWherter for governor in 2010 and Gordon Ball for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

 

Another national media opinion: ‘Hot-button’ Blackburn beats ‘pragmatist’ Bredesen?

Stuart Rothenberg, editor of the national political newsletter Inside Elections, expresses doubt in a Roll Call article about Democrat Phil Bredesen’s prospects for defeating Republican Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race despite polls showing the former governor with an edge in the race so far. An excerpt:

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Politico profiles Tennessee Star: A ‘baby Breitbart’ looking to expand

Excerpt from a Politico report on Tennessee Star, described as a “baby Breitbart,” a right-wing publication with a mainstream name that is looking at expanding into other states:

Since being contacted by POLITICO last week, the Star has added the names of its top three editors to the “Contact Us” section of its website. The publication, it turns out, is owned and operated by Steve Gill, a conservative commentator and radio host, and Michael Patrick Leahy, a local political activist who also writes for Breitbart, though Breitbart is not itself involved in the Star. The pair write many of the stories on the site, Gill said.

“What we really did is provide something people are just starving for,” Gill said, explaining that he and Leahy started the site last year and that there are no other investors.

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Blackburn: Social media companies are censoring conservative speech

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has warned congressional colleagues that social media companies are censoring conservative speech and recounted for lawmakers her own experience last fall when Twitter blocked a video launching her campaign for Senate, reports Michael Collins.

“This ban hit at the fundamental freedom to engage in political speech,” said the Brentwood Republican, who is running for Senate seat currently held by Bob Corker.

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House balks at requiring disclosure of social media political ad sponsors

A Senate-passed bill that would require the disclosure of who paid for political ads on social media websites such as Twitter and Facebook is likely dead for the year after failing to get enough votes in the House on Monday, reports the Associated Press.

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