Rosen et Weissman acquittés, selon le Washington Post.
The U.S. government is abandoning espionage-law charges against two former lobbyists for a pro-Israel advocacy group, federal officials announced this morning.
Prosecutors said they will ask a judge to dismiss the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman because a series of court decisions had made it unlikely they would win convictions. The two are former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, an influential advocacy group.
Rosen and Weissman were charged in 2005 with conspiring to obtain classified information and pass it to journalists and the Israeli government. They were the first non-government civilians charged under the 1917 espionage statute with verbally receiving and transmitting national defense information. Some lawyers and First Amendment advocates have said the case would criminalize the type of information exchange that is common among journalists, lobbyists and think-tank analysts.
Rosen is looking at 20 years in prison while Weissman could be handed a 10-year sentence. The two have already managed to enforce their right to summon senior former officials to court including former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former National Security Adviser Stephen J. Hadley, former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith.
The report came after revelations about a wiretapped conversation during which California congresswoman Jane Harman had promised the powerful lobby to help nullify the accusations in exchange for aide for assuming the headship of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
US To Drop AIPAC Spy Charges The Guardian
Justice Department seeks to drop charges against former AIPAC… LA Times
AIPAC Verdict Sure to Fuel More Harman Conspiracy Theories
Charges dropped against AIPAC men Ynetnews
U.S. drops spy charges against two ex-AIPAC officials Haaretz
US moves to dismiss case against 2 former AIPAC lobbyists Jpost
US forgives Israeli spies amid AIPAC heat Press TV
Notez bien que d’après les auteurs de Le Lobby d’Israël, Mearsheimer et Walt, l’AIPAC est « de facto, un agent d’un gouvernement étranger » et cela même s’il n’est pas inclus dans le registre des lobby.
Steve Rosen, the former foreign policy chief for AIPAC who was charged with illegally disclosing classified information, spoke out for the first time since his case was dismissed last week, blasting those who tried to prosecute him as having ulterior motives against « Jews, Israel, and AIPAC, » and comparing himself to Alfred Dreyfus, who was unjustly tried for treason by France.
« Poor Dreyfus, he had no defense, he had no ability to fight. It was a secret trial. Our judge didn’t agree to a secret trial. They tried, they tried to make it a Dreyfus trial, but he said, ‘No. I’m not having a secret trial, we’re going to have an open trial,' » Rosen described in an interview which was filmed only hours after the dismissal of the case on May 1 and aired by Channel 10 on Wednesday.
« It’s been nearly five years since they came to my door, out of the blue, and turned my life upside-down, » he continued. « It’s been a horrible experience. It’s over, but it will take awhile to rebuild. »
Rosen allegedly received classified information concerning Iran and its backing for terrorism. The case came to light following an FBI raid on AIPAC’s offices in August 2004. Seven months later, in March 2005, he was fired by the lobby group, and in August of that year, indicted by the United States. But Rosen maintained that his actions were not illegal.
« I was a person, you see, who worked with government officials everyday for 23 years. That week, every week, I would meet with people in the State Department, the National Security Council, the Defense Department, other agencies in the government. They were my friends, they knew very well that I spoke to the embassy of Israel. It wasn’t a surprise to them, they also spoke to the embassy, » he said.
« But these people we’re talking about viewed it as if we were a nest of spies, as if we were doing something against America, » Rosen continued.
« It was a shocking, a very toned attitude, their whole way of thinking was very bizarre. They saw me as sitting in some sort of spy nest. It was amazing, » he said.
From the outset, the case became caught in a quagmire of appeals which lasted for four years until last week, when the prosecution filed a motion of dismissal. While Rosen expressed great relief that the saga had ended, he speculated about the benefits of having gone to trial.
« You know, we didn’t really have a trial, and in some ways it’s too bad we didn’t, because all the facts would’ve come out, and what it would’ve shown is that I did nothing wrong. Those that did something wrong were the people that brought this case; not just that they were incorrect, but that the attitude they had about Jews, Israel, AIPAC, was completely false, » he said.
« Unfortunately a lot of that nonsense is still out there. You can go on the Internet and see hundreds of stories. They talk about spies and they see the Mossad under every desk, » he added.
The entire ordeal took place during the presidency of George Bush, who many believed to be a ardent supporter of Israel and the American Jewish community. Rosen seemed to share that view, expressing his belief that Bush was not at all responsible for the case.
« I do not believe that it was what the president thought, or what the attorney-general thought. I think it’s a faction in the bureaucracy who had this belief, » he said. « Now you might ask, why did the people at the top let them go on and on? The answer is they made it about leaks. The people at the bottom wanted to get Israel, Jews, AIPAC, the people at the top wanted to stop leaks to the newspapers.
« They have materials against other people at AIPAC, » he continued. « They have material about people at other Jewish organizations. These guys are still there in the bureaucracy. They still believe that Jews are more loyal to Israel than to America. They still believe that there are Jewish spies under every bed. And they may find another opportunity to bring another case against someone, and that’s the problem. »
Steven J. Rosen’s defamation lawsuit against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is now entering a critical phase. A series of cross-filings stakes out the critical court terrain. Rosen intends to show that obtaining and leveraging classified U.S. government information in the service of Israel is common practice at AIPAC. He claims it was unfair for AIPAC to fire and malign him in the press after he was indicted on espionage charges in 2005. AIPAC’s defense team is committed to getting the case thrown out on technicalities before it goes to trial early next year.