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Anat Kamm wins appeal for early release
By DANIEL K. EISENBUD
16/01/2014
Former IDF soldier was sentenced in 2011 to 4.5 years in prison for leaking classified military documents.
 

The Israel Prison Parole Board on Thursday approved the early release of Anat Kamm, sentenced in 2011 to 4.5 years imprisonment for leaking classified IDF documents to a Haaretz reporter.

She is scheduled to be freed in 10 days.

In a plea bargain during her conviction, the charge of espionage, which carries a life prison sentence, was dropped and Kamm pleaded guilty to gathering and storing more than 2,000 classified military documents during her army service.

During her sentencing, three judges accused Kamm of “cynically exploiting her position,” as the IDF’s OC Central Command secretary, to pass state secrets to journalist Uri Blau, a Haaretz political affairs reporter.

Blau used the classified material as the basis for two articles. In the first, published in October 2008, he accused the IDF of defying the High Court of Justice ruling against the targeted killings of Palestinian terrorists.

A second 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 given Blau.

Before announcing Kamm’s sentence, the judges noted that after her discharge from the army in 2008, she attempted to give the stolen files to a Yediot Aharonot reporter.

When that failed, she gave Blau a disc containing 1,500 documents, 150 of them marked as “highly classified” and 330 as “classified.”

Kamm’s father, who served as a character witness before the sentencing, said his daughter had not intended to harm state security, but was merely “foolish, stupid, idiotic and vapid.”

However, when passing the sentence, the judges viewed her actions in a far harsher light.

“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,” Judge Nurit Ahituv said at the time.

“It is difficult to believe,” Ahituv said, “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 publication.”

Ahituv described the number of classified documents Kamm stole from the IDF as “almost unimaginable.”

“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 encryption.

The judges added a sharp reminder 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.

In May 2012, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein announced his decision to indict Blau.

The journalist was subsequently charged with “aggravated espionage,” punishable by seven years in prison.

Blau averted prison in a plea bargain two months later, under which he admitted charges of illegally possessing classified information. In return, prosecutors asked the court to hand down a four-month community service term.

In April, Kamm sued Haaretz and Blau for NIS 2.6 million for their alleged parts in causing her legal problems with the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).

Joanna Paraszczuk and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.

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