Govt Seeks Dismissal of AIPAC Case

05.01.09 | 2 min read | Text by Steven Aftergood

Prosecutors today filed a motion for dismissal (pdf) of the controversial case against two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were charged under the Espionage Act with unlawful receipt and transmission of classified information.

“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 repeat performance.

Ron Kampeas at the Jewish Telegraphic Agency had the first word on the motion for dismissal this morning.  Eli Lake at the Washington Times had an on-the-record confirmation.