Tel Aviv court accepts plea bargain in Anat Kamm espionage case
According to agreement, prosecutors will drop charge that Kamm intended to harm state security when she took classified IDF documents and passed them on to a Haaretz reporter.
The Tel Aviv District Court accepted a plea bargain on Sunday in the case of Anat Kamm, who is accused of handing secret army documents to Haaretz writer Uri Blau.
According to the indictment against Kamm, during her military service as clerk in the office of then-GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, she collected about 2,000 documents, some highly classified and top-secret, and copied them to CDs and her personal computer.
The documents included plans for military operations, the minutes of internal discussions, details of the deployment of IDF forces, conclusions of internal investigations, situation assessments, target banks and more. She later delivered them to Blau, who used them in his reports.
According to the plea bargain, Kamm will not be charged with having the intention to harm the security of the state, a charge which carries with it a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Instead, Kamm will plead guilty to possession of secret information and passing it on without permission, crimes that carry a maximum punishment of 15 years in prison.
The prosecutor in the case, Hadas Forrer-Gafni, said that she intends to ask the court for the maximum punishment for Kamm. Forrer-Gafni added that a decision regarding Blau will be made in the next few weeks.
Kamm said about her potential punishment, "In the plea bargain I admitted to the charges against me, I cannot control what the law says."
Kamm's lawyer, Eitan Lehman, added "It was never her intention to harm the security of the state. The state knows that the documents were only held by the two [Kamm and Blau] and all information that was leaked to the public underwent censorship."
"There is information the public did not receive, and may not receive in the near future, because discussions are confidential," Lehman said. "I hope the court will realize that not only was there no intention to harm the security of the state, no harm was done."
"Kamm's motives were good. We hope the judges will understand that the house arrest she has been under is sufficient punishment," Lehman said.
Since her arrest, Kamm has been under house arrest in Tel Aviv. The court has rejected every request she has filed to ease the terms of her detention.
The prosecutor said about the plea bargain that it "reduces the severity of the allegations against Kamm. However, at the end of the day, this is a serious offense. The indictment still includes two very serious crimes, even if they are not as harsh as the original charges. The punishment will be served accordingly."
"In our eyes, when an Israeli soldier takes the most confidential documents from the army, it is a very serious offense. Passing the information on to another party, even if they are a journalist, with the knowledge that the material is not being safeguarded with confidentiality, is very grave indeed," Forrer-Gafni added.
The sentencing portion of Kamm's trial will begin on April 11, 2011, behind closed doors.