Israeli soldier faces jail for passing secrets to reporter

A former Israeli soldier who leaked secret military documents to a journalist suggesting that the army had ignored a court ruling in carrying out targeted assassinations of West Bank militants faces years in prison.

Anat Kamm, who was held under secret house arrest for four months before her case was made public, pleaded guilty yesterday to the possession and distribution of classified documents, charges that carry a maximum sentence of 15 years.

Prosecutors, who had dropped the more serious charge of intent to harm state security as part of a plea bargain, said they would push for a lengthy term when she is sentenced in April. In doing so, they hope to send a strong message to other would-be whistleblowers.

Kamm, 24, copied some 2,000 classified documents between 2005 and 2007, when she was a low-ranking soldier in the office of a general who oversaw Israeli policy in the occupied West Bank, according to the indictment.

The documents included details of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) deployments, internal minutes, and plans for military operations as well as the names of Palestinian militants marked out for assassination.

After her discharge from the army in 2008, Kamm passed the files to Uri Blau, an investigative reporter for the liberal newspaper Haaretz. He used the documents in several investigative features, the most damaging of which suggested that a Palestinian militant had been marked for assassination despite a ruling by Israel's supreme court six months previously that outlawed the practice in all but exceptional cases.

Mr Blau pointed to an incident, where two members of the militant Islamic Jihad movement were shot dead in the West Bank. One of them, Ziad Malaisha, had already been identified by the military as a target, he claimed.

The IDF contended that the two militants were killed after opening fire on an army and border police patrol.

The authorities investigated the leaks and arrested Kamm in December 2009, a year after the story was published. Mr Blau, who was in London when news of her detention was made public last March, refused to return to Israel for several months, fearing that he would also face charges. He was later granted immunity if he agreed to return all the classified files in his possession.

Israeli media were initially barred from reporting on Kamm's arrest under a sweeping gag order. The restrictions were only eased after news of her detention was reported in blogs and foreign newspapers, including The Independent.

Israeli newspapers made cryptic references to the case, with the biggest-selling daily Yediot Aharonot going so far as to suggest readers put "Israeli journalist gag" into an internet search engine if they wished to learn about a case that had only been reported overseas.

Critics, including a retired Israeli Supreme Court Judge, rounded on the authorities, demanding that the gag order be revoked, saying that the public had a right to know.

In early court documents, Kamm told prosecutors that she wanted to expose possible war crimes committed by the Israeli forces. Her lawyers have called for a light punishment, arguing that a long sentence would only harm Israeli democracy.

"It was never her intention to harm the security of the state," Einat Lehman, Kamm's lawyer said in comments quoted by Haaretz.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Primary Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Year 3 Teacher Birmingham Jan 2015...

Ashdown Group: Lead Web Developer (ASP.NET, C#) - City of London

£45000 - £50000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Lead Web Develo...

Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 Teacher Required in Grays

£21000 - £40000 per annum + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Key Stage 2 tea...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee