Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Will blogger Silverstein face criminal charges?

Yisrael Medad

Has anti-Zionist progressive blogger Richard Silverstein admitted to possible criminal behavior? Will he be now prosecuted?

According to this New Tork Times story on Shamai Leibowitz, - and on Shamai, read this - it might seem that Richard Silverstein was indeed complicit in criminal behavior. Was he “Recipient A”? Should he have been prosecuted? Should he now be prosecuted?

From the NYTimes report:

When Shamai K. Leibowitz, an F.B.I. translator, was sentenced to 20 months in prison last year for leaking classified information to a blogger, prosecutors revealed little about the case. They identified the blogger in court papers only as “Recipient A.” Mr. Leibowitz, a contract Hebrew translator, passed on secret transcripts of conversations caught on F.B.I. wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington...according to the blogger, Richard Silverstein...Mr. Silverstein offered a rare glimpse of American spying on a close ally. He said he had burned the secret documents in his Seattle backyard after Mr. Leibowitz came under investigation in mid-2009, but he recalled that there were about 200 pages of verbatim records of telephone calls and what seemed to be embassy conversations.

...Mr. Silverstein, 59, writes a blog called Tikun Olam, named after a Hebrew phrase that he said means “repairing the world.” The blog gives a liberal perspective on Israel and Israeli-American relations. He said he had decided to speak out to make clear that Mr. Leibowitz, though charged under the Espionage Act, was acting out of noble motives...Mr. Silverstein said he got to know Mr. Leibowitz, a lawyer with a history of political activism...“I see him as an American patriot and a whistle-blower, and I’d like his actions to be seen in that context,” Mr. Silverstein said...Mr. Silverstein took the blog posts he had written based on Mr. Leibowitz’s material off his site after the criminal investigation two years ago. But he was able to retrieve three posts from April 2009 from his computer and provided them to The New York Times.

The blog posts make no reference to eavesdropping, but describe information from “a confidential source,” wording Mr. Silverstein said was his attempt to disguise the material’s origin...

So, Silverstein, to my reading, who has a problematic public posture, and has been embroiled in blogosphere contrtemps and who has blocked me from his site, admits, one could think, to being a chief participant in the events that sent Leibowitz to prison. He seems to be, upon his own confession, the recipient of and still the possessor of classified US intelligence information. He is, it appears, the previously unnamed “blogger.”

Silverstein claims to have burned the transcripts when Leibowitz came under investigation. Is that a fair case to be prosecuted for obstruction of justice?

Is Silverstein's claims that Leibowitz’s motives were pure and good, because they were to hurt Israel rather than hurt the United States, a defense against prosecution and eventual conviction?

They didn't help Leibowitz. Why then should they assist Silverstein?

Will the US Attorney-General or another federal prosecutor now initiate criminal proceedings against Silverstein?

And if not, why?

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