As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Friday, May 01, 2009

Obama DoJ Drops The AIPAC Spy Suit

So Jon Stewart's premature speculation that nobody in the Jane Harman/AIPAC case got what they wanted was upended today when the government dropped charges against the two former AIPAC staffers.

Prosecutors said they will ask a judge to dismiss the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman because a series of court decisions had made it unlikely they would win convictions. The two are former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, an influential advocacy group.

Rosen and Weissman were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information and pass it to journalists and the Israeli government. They were the first non-government civilians charged under the 1917 espionage statute with verbally receiving and transmitting national defense information. Some lawyers and First Amendment advocates have said the case would criminalize the type of information exchange that is common among journalists, lobbyists and think-tank analysts.

Harman had nothing to do with this, and I don't want to speculate on that. I just used it as a news peg to express my support for this dropping of charges. The case was less about Rosen and Weissman and more about the criminalization of journalistic practices that would have a chilling effect on the ability of investigative reporters to do their job. We have an overclassification problem in this country, used by the government to hide embarrassing secrets. So good for Obama in this case.

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