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AIPAC Decision A Victory—With Qualifiers

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Purveyor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-02-09 01:17 PM
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AIPAC Decision A Victory—With Qualifiers
By Ron Kampeas · May 1, 2009

NEWS ANALYSIS

WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Baruch Weiss, the young lawyer who helped cripple the government’s case against two former AIPAC staffers, says the prosecution’s loss is a “great victory” for free speech and for Israel’s friends.

He’s not wrong, but -- like any legal document -- the government’s motion Friday to dismiss classified information charges against Steve Rosen, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s former foreign policy chief, and Keith Weissman, its former Iran analyst, begs for footnotes and qualifiers.

The decision upholds as a matter of law the right of lobbyists to relay information to allies like Israel. The drawn-out case, however, unquestionably wounded the pro-Israel community’s reputation as unassailable. It also defers a looming crisis for one of the fundamentals of reporting: the right of a reporter or lobbyist or anyone to listen to a source without running to tell the feds.

Rosen and Weissman had been awaiting trial ever since an FBI raid in August 2004 on AIPAC offices resulted in charges that they had obtained and relayed information relating to Iran’s threat against Israel. In the last three years, the government's case suffered numerous setbacks in various pre-trial court rulings.

In a statement Friday, Dana Boente, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said, “Given the diminished likelihood the government will prevail at trial under the additional intent requirements imposed by the court and the inevitable disclosure of classified information that would occur at any trial in this matter, we have asked the court to dismiss the indictment."

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JTA: http://jta.org/news/article/2009/05/01/1004841/aipac-de...
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