Israel lifts gag order in case of ex-soldier accused of espionage
Woman allegedly leaked military papers to media
JERUSALEM — Israel lifted months of censorship on a military espionage case yesterday, confirming the house arrest of a former female soldier charged with leaking more military documents to a newspaper.
Anat Kamm, 23, has been under house arrest since December, but a court-imposed gag order kept the case under wraps. The restrictions were eased yesterday after foreign media reported details of the case.
The indictment was released with some parts still censored and it revealed new details on the case, including allegations that Kamm copied more than 2,000 classified military documents and relayed them to the Haaretz newspaper. About 700 were classified as “top secret.’’
The indictment charges Kamm with passing information with the intent of harming national security. Her lawyer, Eitan Lehman, denied this.
“At no stage of this affair was Israel’s security damaged. Certainly, there was no intent to do so,’’ Lehman said.
The Justice Ministry said the gag order was necessary for security reasons and to allow officials to try to recover the classified documents. Only some of the documents were recovered, the Justice Ministry said, in part because the Haaretz journalist who allegedly received them has left the country.
The gag order drew sharp criticism from local media because the foreign reports were easily accessible over the Internet.
Prosecutors allege Kamm was the source for a Haaretz story accusing the military of killing Palestinian militants in violation of a Supreme Court ruling.
The Haaretz report cited a document from March 2007 that included an order from Major General Yair Naveh, then the top Israeli commander in the West Bank, permitting firing upon three top Palestinian militants even if they did not pose a clear and present danger.
That summer, one of the men, Ziad Malaisha of Islamic Jihad, was killed in Jenin. Legal specialists interviewed by Haaretz said the order was illegal. Naveh told Haaretz at the time that the killing was justified and did not violate the court ruling.
At the time of the memos, Kamm served in Naveh’s office.