AIPAC Prosecution Folds

FBI counterintelligence is not going to have a happy Friday: the two AIPAC officials charged with sharing classified information with Israel will see their charges dropped by prosecutors. Here's the official statement from Dana J. Boente, the acting U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia:

When this indictment was brought, the government believed it could prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt based on the statute. However, as the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit noted, the District Court potentially imposed an additional burden on the prosecution not mandated by statute. 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

Rosen-Weissman motion to dismiss_05012009.pdf

In general, this is fairly good news for anyone who receives classified information -- like journalists -- and then publishes it in some form. (There are several types of classified information -- if the defendants had passed signal intelligence or evidence about collection systems to Israel, they'd have been tried under a different statute).  Had the case gone to trail, the government was facing a loss, as its efforts to keep information out of the discovery process failed and its contention that the two AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, broke the law was challenged by U.S. government classification experts.