OPEN GOVERNMENT/FREE SPEECH — Federal prosecutors today moved for dismissal of the government's unprecedented and controversial case against two former employees of the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful
receipt and transmission of classified information, reports Steven Aftergood in his Secrecy News blog.
The landscape of this case has changed significantly since it was first brought, the government motion stated, referring to several court rulings against
the prosecution, which drastically increased its burden of proof, while
granting defense motions to introduce previously classified information
and to call influential expert witnesses for the defense.
In addition to adjusting to the requirement of meeting an
unexpectedly higher evidentiary threshold in order to prevail at trial,
the Government must also assess the nature, quality, and quantity of
evidence – including information relevant to prosecution and defense
theories expected at trial.
In the proper discharge of our duties and obligations, we have
re-evaluated the case based on the present context and circumstances,
and determined that it is in the public interest to dismiss the pending
superseding indictment, prosecutors wrote in their May 1 motion.
If the case had gone forward and prosecutors had prevailed, it would
have set a terrible precedent for using the Espionage Act to regulate
and to punish access to classified information by non-official
persons. Instead, the dismissal of the case after years of fruitless
litigation makes it extremely unlikely that prosecutors will attempt a
But Jeff Stein, writing for CQPolitics, predicts that the dismissal "will certainly pour jet fuel on conspiracy theories burning up the blogosphere over the (California Congresswoman) Jane Harman wiretap controversy."