Haaretz Spy Saga Continues; Uri Blau Returns to Israel
Haaretz journalist Uri Blau has returned to Israel after spending 10 months in Britain in an attempt to avoid criminal charges. Blau had illegally received over 1,500 classified IDF files from a former soldier, Anat Kam.
Upon his arrival, Blau handed over the documents, as part of a deal cut between his attorneys and state prosecutors.
Blau had agreed in September 2009 to hand over all classified documents in his possession to the IDF, in exchange for a promise that the documents would not be used as evidence against him or his source, who had not yet been identified. However, Blau failed to keep his side of the bargain, returning dozens of the files he had received while keeping many hundreds more.
Under the new deal, he has agreed to report to police for questioning within 48 hours, and has agreed to undergo a polygraph test.
Due to "the sensitive nature" of Blau's alleged crimes, the question of whether or not to put him on trial will be decided by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein after a hearing.
Blau used the information he received from Kam to write articles accusing Israel of assassinating wanted terrorists in Judea and Samaria, instead of attempting to arrest them and bring them to trial. After fleeing the country he wrote an article, published in Haaretz, terming his struggle “a war for Israel's image” and claiming that the Shin Ben “doesn't really understand what democracy is all about.”
“I am a journalist and my aim is to provide the reader as much information as possible,” Blau wrote. However, it was not clear from his article why he felt the need to keep so many secret documents, or to take them outside the country.
Anat Kam has been indicted for spying, distributing classified information with the goal of undermining national defense, and collecting and possessing classified information in a manner that undermines national defense. She has admitted to stealing more than 2,000 IDF documents, most of which were categorized as classified or highly classified material.