Anat Kamm released from prison after conviction for leaking IDF documents

Former IDF soldier won appeal for early release after serving two years; original 2011 sentence was for 4.5 years.

Anat Kamm  (photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Anat Kamm
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun)
Former IDF soldier Anat Kamm was released from prison on Sunday after serving two thirds of the 4.5-year sentenced she was given in 2011 for leaking classified documents to Haaretz.
Earlier this month, the Israel Prisons Parole Board approved her early release from Neveh Tirzah Prison. Kamm said she felt “excellent" as she left the prison, climbing into a car as a rightwing activist called her a traitor.
She later told Army Radio that, "My plan now is to catch up on sleep, because I didn't sleep much in recent nights." She added that, "In hindsight, I would have done things differently." On a Channel 10 morning show, her attorney, Ilan Baumbach, said that they will continue their legal measures against Haaretz and Uri Blau, for revealing Kamm as his source.
"She trusted a journalist whom she passed important documents to, that he would not reveal her as a source," Baumbach said.
Kamm agreed to a plea bargain in 2011 and a more serious charge of espionage, which carries a life sentence, was dropped. She instead pleaded guilty to gathering and storing more than 2,000 classified military documents during her military service.
The documents included files that were leaked to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau and were used as the basis for two articles. The first, published in October 2008, used claimed the IDF violated a 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.
During her sentencing, three judges accused Kamm of “cynically exploiting her position” as a Central Command secretary to pass state secrets to Blau.
Before announcing Kamm’s sentence, the judges noted that, after her discharge from the army in 2008, she had previously 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 her 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 impose a four-month term of community service.
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 contributed to this report.