Convicted Whistle-blower Anat Kamm: Gag Orders Are Superfluous

Kamm, who spent over two years in prison, writes about her experiences for the first time.

Anat Kamm is released from prison on January 26, 2014, after serving more than two years.
Anat Kamm is released from prison on January 26, 2014, after serving more than two years. Nir Keidar

Court-imposed gag orders are superfluous and virtually impossible to enforce, according to Anat Kamm, the former Israeli soldier who served over two years in prison for stealing and leaking classified military documents.

Kamm was released from prison about three months ago.

In an article published Wednesday on the Hamakom website, Kamm described how details of her arrest leaked out almost immediately, despite the stringent gag order imposed on the case.

"Gag orders, especially if they forbid publication of their very existence, quickly turn into a farce, which embarrasses both those who requested them, the police, and those who imposed them, the court," Kamm wrote.

Within a few days of her first interrogation by the Shin Bet security service, she wrote, her many acquaintances from the media already knew all about it, despite the gag order that was in place.

Being a journalist, she was in daily contact with other journalists during her house arrest, she wrote, and everyone knew why she was at home, though they didn't speak about it.

Only days after her first interrogation, her managers at the Walla website were aware of what was going on, despite the fact that none of her professional colleagues were in direct contact with the investigating police.

Kamm wrote that she observed the gag order, but doubts whether her interrogators did likewise. Broad hints about her case were quickly available on the Internet, while foreign websites ignored the gag order entirely.

"It was only after a series of leading articles and everybody knew, after applications by several media outlets, that the police agreed to the lifting of the order."

Kamm was convicted in February 2011 of collecting, holding and passing on classified information to Haaretz journalist Uri Blau. Originally, Kamm was charged with espionage, but the conviction was reduced under a plea bargain. Blau, meanwhile, was sentenced under a plea bargain to four months community service for possessing classified military documents.