Haaretz Reporter Uri Blau Returns to Israel in Deal With Shin Bet

Blau has been in London since before former soldier Anat Kamm was indicted for passing on to him documents allegedly stolen from IDF Central Command.

Haaretz reporter Uri Blau returned to Israel on Sunday for the first time since a former Israel Defense Forces soldier was indicted for passing on to him classified documents allegedly taken from the army.

The former soldier, Anat Kamm, stands accused of collecting some 2,000 highly classified and top-secret documents during her military service as clerk in the office of then-GOC Central Command, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh.

Uri Blau

According to the indictment, she allegedly copied the documents to CDs and her personal computer. She later delivered them to Blau, who used them as a basis for reports in November 2008.

Blau, who was visiting London when the case broke out earlier this year, remained outside of Israel over the course of the indictment. His return to Israel on Sunday came after a deal was reached between his lawyers and representatives of the state.

Blau has agreed to report within 48 hours for a joint investigation by the Shin Bet and Israel Police for publishing articles pertaining to the stolen documents, the Justice Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

He has returned all of the some 1,500 documents in question and is willing to declare that he is no longer in possession of any other papers, the ministry said in its statement on Sunday. He has also agreed to undergo a polygraph test, if necessary.

The Attorney General has yet to determine whether to indict Blau.

Meanwhile, a plea bargain for Kamm has been drawn up at a meeting with senior prosecutors at the Justice Ministry, media reported last month.

In the draft of that plea bargain, a clause accusing Kamm of intending to harm Israel's security has been dropped, while clauses accusing Kamm of possession and transfer of state secrets will remain.

The prosecution first chose to charge Kamm with the most severe crime in the criminal code: aggravated espionage with intent to harm state security, which carries a life sentence upon a guilty conviction.

Kamm was also charged with collecting and possessing secret materials with the intent to harm state security, which carries a 15-year prison sentence. But the criminal code also includes other crimes that Kamm could be charged with that carry far lighter sentences.