Hale deserves our respect, he gave all he could for the revolution and is memorialized for his famous last words before hanging, reported to be, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” Hale himself would want us to learn from his operation, and there are definitely lessons for us in his story.
Hale had no training in espionage. He was a well learned and smart young man who attended Yale and was a member of the Linonian Society of Yale, which debated a wide range of topics including astronomy, mathematics, literature and ethics, including the ethics of slavery. He graduated with honors at the age of 18 and was a teacher.
At the time he was called to service there was no specialized training or methods for espionage for those in the Continental Army. The result was this great volunteer was caught on his first mission.
Lesson for today: Prepare. Intelligence is best collected by highly trained professionals.
For more see: Nathan Hale: The Life and Death of America’s First Spy