Harman Tape Irony (Update: Prosectors reported considering dropping AIPAC case)

Clarice Feldman
Secrecy News which has provided for me the most reliable and detailed accounts of the case agasint the two former AIPAC officials has some thoughts about the leaks of the Harman tape:
What makes the quid pro quo allegation questionable is that neither side of the reported conversation seemed to need an inducement to act as described.  Of all potential candidates for chair of the House Intelligence Committee (Harman, Hastings, Reyes), Harman's views have probably been closest to those of pro-Israel lobbyists.  Their support of her was not in doubt.  Nor did Rep. Harman require extraordinary incentives to be concerned about the prosecution of the former AIPAC officials.  That case has drawn widespread criticism (including from Secrecy News) for its over-broad reading of the Espionage Act that would make even the receipt of classified information a crime.

Ironically, the single identifiable crime in this whole story is the unauthorized disclosure of the classified contents of an intelligence intercept to CQ, and then to the New York Times.  While there is no categorical legal prohibition against all classified leaks, several specific categories of classified information are protected by statute and their release is a felony offense.  Under
18 U.S.C. 798, one of those is the unauthorized disclosure of communications intelligence, like that gathered by NSA. 


Update: Jerry Markon of the Washington Post reports that prosecutores are contemplating dropping the entire AIPAC case, denying any political interference.

Federal prosecutors are considering whether to drop the charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act, law enforcement sources and lawyers close to the case said today. ...

The review of the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman was triggered by a series of recent court rulings that make it harder for the government to win convictions, the sources said. Those included an appeals court decision allowing the defense to use classified information at trial and a judge's ruling that said prosecutors must show the two men knew the information they allegedly disclosed would harm the United States. That set a high bar for prosecutors because criminal intent can be difficult to prove.
Update -- Ed Lasky adds:

When I last checked, the FBI investigator who spearheaded this “investigation”, David Szady,  was the President of WAMMA -- the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts where he is attempting to bring legitimacy to this sport. I kid you not. 


Szady has faced allegations of targeting Jews in the past when he worked for the CIA in their counter-intelligence operations. George Tenet, who headed the CIA, admitted that this department-that had been headed by Szady- had been involved with “insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate” language regarding the case of an attorney, Adam Ciralsky who charged he was being subjected to religious discrimination. Community officials asserted that Szady had:

targeted Jews, blocked or slowed their clearances and squeezed minor security violators.

"He's bad, very bad," declared one senior Jewish organizational executive, who like all those familiar with Szady declined to speak for the record.

According to exclusively obtained documents, Szady was directly involved in the Ciralsky case. He is identified in the documents as the chief of the CIA's Counterespionage Group, known as CEG, which was later accused of targeting Ciralsky for being Jewish and a supporter of Israel.
 

 

Now he is trying to get martial arts accepted into the mainstream sports world. Better there than working for our government.
 


Secrecy News which has provided for me the most reliable and detailed accounts of the case agasint the two former AIPAC officials has some thoughts about the leaks of the Harman tape:
What makes the quid pro quo allegation questionable is that neither side of the reported conversation seemed to need an inducement to act as described.  Of all potential candidates for chair of the House Intelligence Committee (Harman, Hastings, Reyes), Harman's views have probably been closest to those of pro-Israel lobbyists.  Their support of her was not in doubt.  Nor did Rep. Harman require extraordinary incentives to be concerned about the prosecution of the former AIPAC officials.  That case has drawn widespread criticism (including from Secrecy News) for its over-broad reading of the Espionage Act that would make even the receipt of classified information a crime.

Ironically, the single identifiable crime in this whole story is the unauthorized disclosure of the classified contents of an intelligence intercept to CQ, and then to the New York Times.  While there is no categorical legal prohibition against all classified leaks, several specific categories of classified information are protected by statute and their release is a felony offense.  Under
18 U.S.C. 798, one of those is the unauthorized disclosure of communications intelligence, like that gathered by NSA. 


Update: Jerry Markon of the Washington Post reports that prosecutores are contemplating dropping the entire AIPAC case, denying any political interference.

Federal prosecutors are considering whether to drop the charges against two former pro-Israel lobbyists accused of violating the Espionage Act, law enforcement sources and lawyers close to the case said today. ...

The review of the case against Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman was triggered by a series of recent court rulings that make it harder for the government to win convictions, the sources said. Those included an appeals court decision allowing the defense to use classified information at trial and a judge's ruling that said prosecutors must show the two men knew the information they allegedly disclosed would harm the United States. That set a high bar for prosecutors because criminal intent can be difficult to prove.
Update -- Ed Lasky adds:

When I last checked, the FBI investigator who spearheaded this “investigation”, David Szady,  was the President of WAMMA -- the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts where he is attempting to bring legitimacy to this sport. I kid you not. 


Szady has faced allegations of targeting Jews in the past when he worked for the CIA in their counter-intelligence operations. George Tenet, who headed the CIA, admitted that this department-that had been headed by Szady- had been involved with “insensitive, unprofessional and highly inappropriate” language regarding the case of an attorney, Adam Ciralsky who charged he was being subjected to religious discrimination. Community officials asserted that Szady had:

targeted Jews, blocked or slowed their clearances and squeezed minor security violators.

"He's bad, very bad," declared one senior Jewish organizational executive, who like all those familiar with Szady declined to speak for the record.

According to exclusively obtained documents, Szady was directly involved in the Ciralsky case. He is identified in the documents as the chief of the CIA's Counterespionage Group, known as CEG, which was later accused of targeting Ciralsky for being Jewish and a supporter of Israel.
 

 

Now he is trying to get martial arts accepted into the mainstream sports world. Better there than working for our government.