Israeli reporter accused of leaking army documents

Last Updated: Thu, May 31, 2012 02:40 hrs

Jerusalem, May 31 (IANS) A reporter working for Israeli daily Haaretz has been charged with leaking classified army documents related to assassination of Palestinian militant leaders, a media report said.

Uri Blau was charged by Israel's Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein with unauthorised possession of secret army documents that had "great potential" for damaging Israel's security, Xinhua reported.

"The exposure of the documents or the possibility they would reach hostile groups would have caused damage to the state's security and risk the lives of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers," read a statement by Weinstein.

Blau was interrogated in October 2010 for his part in receiving and publishing the details of 1,500 secret military documents contained on CDs stolen from the IDF Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem.

One specific document released in November 2008 exposed a controversial approval by then IDF Central Command chief Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh of a targeted killing of two jihadist militants, despite a Supreme Court ruling forbidding the policy.

The publication led to an intensive internal investigation, which eventually named Anat Kamm, then a clerk at the Central Command, as Blau's source.

Kamm, who later became a journalist herself, was sentenced in October 2011 to four and a half years in prison on charges of espionage and passing secret information without authorisation.

The attorney-general's statement said Kamm and Blau's holding on to the classified documents, considering their quantity and sensitivity, "has nothing to do with innocent journalist work".

In a response posted on their website, Haaretz said the decision "is unfortunate and sets a precedent in terms of its ramifications on the freedom of press in Israel, and especially on the ability to cover the security apparatus".

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