Prosecutors in the case of two former AIPAC lobbyists who are charged with unlawful transmission of classified information last week asked a court to prevent the former director of the Information Security Oversight Office, J. William Leonard, from testifying for the defendants.
Mr. Leonard, who was the government’s senior classification policy authority for the past five years until his recent retirement, should not be allowed to assist the defense, prosecutors said. There are legal and ethical prohibitions against his testimony, according to the prosecution, particularly since he once had a discussion with prosecutors about the case.
“Mr. Leonard is subject to a permanent restriction on appearing as an expert witness on behalf of any other party in this matter except the United States,” prosecutors argued in their March 31 motion (pdf).
The prosecution move highlights the awkward fact that several of the government’s own most distinguished classification experts are siding with the defense in this case.
Another former ISOO director, Steven Garfinkel, has also been named as a potential expert witness for the defense.
Perhaps with that prospect in mind, the government motion stated that “The statutory restrictions enumerated herein may likewise apply to other expert witnesses the defense intends to present.”
The government motion was first reported by the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in “Gov’t: Bar Classification Czar,” April 4.