Comment: Kamm sentence a deterrent against leaks

The whole military system is based on young, motivated people in complex, confidential positions that allow them access to classified data.

By
October 31, 2011 03:20
2 minute read.
Anat Kamm in court.

anat kamm court 311. (photo credit: Ben Hartman)

After the Tel Aviv District Court sentenced Anat Kamm to four-and-a-half years imprisonment on Sunday, state prosecutor Hadas Porrer-Gefni told reporters the panel of three judges had given a “strong message” to young people on mandatory army service.

“The court said that what the defendant has done is not just ‘something dumb’ but emphasized, just as we had done, that this is actually a very severe offense,” Porrer-Gefni said, referring to Kamm’s testimony that she had transferred the classified documents out of “mere stupidity.”

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The prosecutor said young people should be made aware of the sentence before embarking on their mandatory IDF service.

“The judgement should be learned in every school and every basic training unit in the army, so that anyone who thinks he can take classified documents knows what punishment he will get,” she said.

Though the prosecutor made a point of praising the judges for giving a warning to young people serving in the IDF, she declined to comment on the sentence itself, saying the prosecution will decide within a few days whether to appeal against it. Prosecutors had asked for a punishment of 15 years, the maximum penalty for the offenses for which Kamm was convicted in February.

However, the judges said during Sunday’s hearing that in passing sentence on Kamm they had taken into account the mitigating circumstances of her young age at the time of the offenses, her lack of a criminal record, and that she had cooperated readily with the investigation including giving a full confession.

Kamm is also unlikely to commit similar offenses in the future, the judges said.

Prof. Emmanuel Gross, an expert in criminal law from the University of Haifa, told The Jerusalem Post the sentence imposed on Kamm was “fair and balanced,” and reflected the fact that the more serious charge of intending to harm state security had been dropped from the amended indictment under the plea bargain agreed with the state.

“The state had also accepted that Kamm had not deliberately tried to harm state security,” said Gross.

However, the sentence is sufficiently harsh, he said, particularly taking into account Kamm’s young age and the fact that court ruled not to deduct from her prison term the two years she has spent under house arrest.

In passing sentence, the judges had noted that “the whole military system is based on young, motivated people in complex and confidential positions...that allows them access to classified information of the highest order.”

“The sentence should deter other young people from similar acts and make them aware of the dangers of passing on classified information,” Gross said.


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