The Tel Aviv District Court on Sunday sentenced Anat Kamm, the former IDF OC
Central Command secretary convicted of serious espionage crimes, including
passing of classified documents to journalist Uri Blau, to four-and- a-half years
Kamm was also sentenced to 18 months probation.
Sides argue over Kamm sentencing behind closed doors
Reporter in Kamm espionage case returns to Israel
now aged 24, and who worked as a journalist after her army service for the Walla
news portal, was convicted in February in a plea bargain under which she pleaded
guilty to gathering and storing more than 2,000 classified military documents
during her mandatory army service.
She also admitted to transferring the
classified documents to Blau, a political affairs reporter for Haaretz, who used
the classified material as the basis for two articles in late
However, the amended indictment dropped two far more severe charges
of deliberately intending to harm state security, offenses carrying a maximum
penalty of life imprisonment.
In Sunday’s sentencing hearing, the panel
of judges, Nurit Ahituv, Miriam Diskin and Ra’anan Ben-Yosef, said Kamm had
“cynically exploited her position” during her army service as a clerk in the
office of Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh in the capital’s Neveh Ya’acov neighborhood to
steal 2,085 IDF documents, including more than 700 classified ones, for
ideological reasons and for future publication.
Before Sunday’s court
session began, Kamm smiled, sipped coffee, checked her cellphone and chatted
with her parents, who had accompanied her to court.
During the hearing,
however, Kamm sat alone in the dock with her head bowed low, retaining her
composure as Ahituv criticized her actions in copying and stealing the
classified files. Only when the judges pronounced Kamm’s 54-month prison
sentence did she appear to flinch, but she quickly composed herself, and
remained impassive and silent.
Kamm’s parents also seemed calm during the
hearing, as they watched their daughter from the public gallery. After the
sentence was pronounced, however, Kamm’s father, Yigal, appeared visibly shaken
and left the court without speaking to reporters.
sentence, the judges noted that in September 2008, after her discharge from the
army, Kamm intended to give the files she had gathered to a Yediot Aharonot
reporter, but when that failed, she handed a disc containing 1,500 documents,
150 of them marked as highly classified and 330 as classified, to
Blau used the classified material as the basis for two articles for
Haaretz. In the first, published in October 2008, Blau accused the IDF of
defying a High Court of Justice ruling against the targeted killings of
The next article, published a few weeks later,
similarly intimated that the IDF had earmarked Palestinian terrorists for
targeted killings, and included a photocopy of a targeted-killing order Kamm had
The judges noted that, in her defense, Kamm had said she
acted out of “stupidity” rather than for ideological reasons.
in character witness testimony in court, had said his daughter had not intended
to harm state security but was merely “foolish, stupid, idiotic and
However, in passing sentence, the three judges had far harsher
words to say about Kamm.
“The claim that this was a mere act of stupidity
is disingenuous and is an unconvincing attempt to explain to herself and others
things that cannot be in any way justified,” Ahituv said.
difficult to believe,” added the judge, “that the defendant, who has a high
level of intelligence, did not understand the meaning, implications and danger
of transferring huge amounts of data to a journalist for
Ahituv described as “almost unimaginable” the number of
classified documents Kamm stole from the IDF.
“Those documents dealt with
the most vital issues in the defense and the military,” said the judge, who
noted that Kamm’s home computer on which she had stored the documents was not
secure and that it had been connected to the Internet without
The judges gave a sharp reminder to the court that the
classified information Kamm passed to Blau could since have been transferred to
other, unknown actors.
“It is impossible to know whether the intelligence
[Kamm] gave away has found its way into the hands of foreign agents, hostile or
not,” Ahituv said.
Though not all the details of the witness statements
given at Kamm’s trial have been released for publication, in Sunday’s hearing
the judges referred to testimony from a former IDF head of information security,
who had told the court the documents Kamm stole and passed to Blau contained
information relating to army operations that could cause “enormous potential
harm” if it fell into enemy hands.
The same expert witness testified as
to the danger of giving the documents to a journalist who was unaware of their
specific context, and said that in the past Israeli journalists had cooperated
with foreign reporters to publish classified material abroad, where it is not
subject to Israeli censorship laws.
In her own testimony, some details of
which were also included in Sunday’s sentencing hearing, Kamm described Naveh’s
office as “embarrassing in terms of information security” and said she had not
undergone any security check before being assigned to her army role, even though
she had access to the most confidential documents.
The army declined to
comment on Kamm’s sentence.
While Kamm’s trial is over, Attorney-General
Yehuda Weinstein has yet to decide whether to prosecute Blau.
attorney-general held a hearing in May on the matter after the Tel Aviv District
Attorney’s Office announced that there was sufficient evidence to indict Blau
for unauthorized possession of classified documents.