ADL Welcomes Decision By Justice Department To Dismiss Charges In AIPAC Case
New York, NY, May 1, 2009 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decision by the U.S. Department of Justice to dismiss charges of espionage against two former employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, saying it was "a case that should never have been brought before the courts."
ADL issued the following statement:
We welcome the Justice Department's decision to dismiss the espionage charges against former AIPAC staffers Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, a case that should never have been brought before the courts.
While we are always mindful of and fully support our government's need to protect sensitive national security information, this prosecution was not necessary for such protection. To the best of our knowledge, there were no charges of spying here – no alleged payment for information, or secret meetings, or theft of documents. The prosecution dusted off an almost 100-year-old, seldom used statute, the Espionage Act of 1917, and applied it in what the judge hearing the case said was an "unprecedented" manner – to cover private citizens, for the exchange of oral information, disclosed as part of their jobs.
The case endangered core First Amendment protections not just for AIPAC, but for the media and anyone who, in the course of their work, discusses with government officials something that a prosecutor later decides was protected national defense information.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.