Anat Kamm Says She's No Snowden, but No Traitor Either

Former Israeli soldier who leaked classified documents gives first interview after spending two years in prison.

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Anat Kamm, a former Israeli soldier who was released last week after serving over two years in prison for stealing and leaking classified military documents, gave her first interview on Friday.

In the interview, which was published both in Yedioth Ahronoth and Ynet "The Hottest Place in Hell," Kamm talked about her incarceration, her regrets and plans for the future.

"It kills me when people ask if I'm staying in the country, like I'm a traitor with nothing to do here. It's my home, why should I leave?" she said.

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.

Kamm said her fellow prisoners didn't make too much of her crimes. "They never called me a traitor," she said, "that's part of the general ethos in jail - that you don’t look at what the [other] woman did."

When asked if she regrets her actions, Kamm said: "Of course. Even before I went in I knew what a mistake it was. Edward Snowden who leaked secret information from the NSA will be haunted for the rest of his life, and Chelsea Manning, who gave documents to Wikileaks will now spend 35 years in prison – but they changed the world. In my case, it was not a good way to change the world, and it was quite unsuccessful."  

When asked to respond to criticism voiced after Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein's decision to file an indictment against Blau for possessing classified IDF documents, Kamm said the protests were justified. "In a normal country a journalist should not be put on trial for doing his job… but I would want his journalist's license revoked, if such a thing existed." She added it was journalists who should have rejected him for his actions, not the legal system.

"The part Haaretz played in the affair, and how it washed its hands clean of me, angers me," Kamm said. "Haaretz "never contacted me and never helped."

Asked about her plans for the future, Kamm said the most urgent thing for her at the moment is finding a job and getting back to the routine. "I'm looking [for a job in media] because that's what I know how to do, but I'm willing to do anything," she said. "I understand there are still people who think someone paid with their life for my actions, but people don't know the facts. I prefer today for people to think good things of me."

Anat Kamm in court, November 2011. Credit: Emil Salman

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