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Judge: AIPAC charges may be based on unconstitutional law
Haaretz ^ | 3/26/2006 | Shmuel Rosner

Posted on 03/26/2006 10:29:49 AM PST by Sabramerican

Judge: AIPAC charges may be based on unconstitutional law

WASHINGTON - A federal judge on Friday questioned the constitutionality of a law under which two former lobbyists with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have been charged with receiving and disclosing national defense information to reporters and foreign diplomats.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis said at the pretrial hearing for Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman that the law, enacted in 1917, may be unconstitutionally broad and vague.

The law's defects are exacerbated because they infringe on the defendants' constitutional rights to lobby the government and because prosecutors are seeking to criminalize conduct that is integral to Washington politics - namely, leaks of classified information.

The law has rarely been used, and has never before been applied to lobbyists. Ellis said the case has moved into "new, uncharted waters," and that the defense's request for dismissal must be reviewed with strict scrutiny because of the potential impact on First Amendment rights.

(Excerpt) Read more at haaretzdaily.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Extended News; Foreign Affairs; Government; Israel; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: aipac; constitutionallaw; israel

1 posted on 03/26/2006 10:29:52 AM PST by Sabramerican
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To: SJackson

I should start charging for my analysis/predictions.


2 posted on 03/26/2006 10:30:47 AM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Sabramerican
I should start charging for my analysis/predictions.

I'm shocked. Truely shocked.

Aren't you getting paid for posting here alreacy? I am!

3 posted on 03/26/2006 10:33:15 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
If you'd like to be on or off this middle east/political ping list, please FR mail me.
Articles on Israel can also be found by clicking the keyword or topic Israel.

---------------------------

4 posted on 03/26/2006 10:33:36 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: Sabramerican

Even the Washington Post which always editorializes against Israel- and takes a shot at Israel here too- sees this as a dangerous infringement on Free Speech.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/22/AR2006032202055.html


5 posted on 03/26/2006 10:34:51 AM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Sabramerican

So now spying on the U.S. in unconstitutional. God help us.


6 posted on 03/26/2006 10:37:36 AM PST by crabapple joe
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To: Sabramerican
because prosecutors are seeking to criminalize conduct that is integral to Washington politics - namely, leaks of classified information.

Oh come on dad, everyone at school does it. Why can't I ?

7 posted on 03/26/2006 10:37:55 AM PST by oldbrowser (We must act today in order to preserve tomorrow......R.R)
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To: SJackson

For people who understand the issue, this is a more serious Free Speech concern then McCain-Feingold.

Think the discussion here will mirror that concern?


8 posted on 03/26/2006 10:43:57 AM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Sabramerican
"Think the discussion here will mirror that concern?"


Perhaps, but only if posters type some legible and literate sentences.




9 posted on 03/26/2006 10:48:35 AM PST by G.Mason (Duty, Honor, Country)
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To: Sabramerican

No


10 posted on 03/26/2006 10:55:35 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: crabapple joe
So now spying on the U.S. in unconstitutional. God help us.

No one was accused of spying. The accusation was that 2 individuals, having refused to look at documents, heard "classified" information and passed it on to unauthorized individuals. To unauthorized individuals Israeli Embassy and to unauthorized individuals Washington Post. But only after their first call, to unauthorized individuals at the White House.

An interesting case, but the "rule" has to be applied equally, if it's to be applied at all, which will criminalize much of what goes on in the media and in government.

11 posted on 03/26/2006 10:59:17 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: Sabramerican

This judge is a Reagan appointee. See:
http://www.fjc.gov/servlet/tGetInfo?jid=703


12 posted on 03/26/2006 11:01:34 AM PST by libstripper
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To: Sabramerican
Does anyone smell - pave way to keep reporters and their gov't leaks - does rockyfella come to mind = from being brought to justice -

Who was this judge appointed by? ?One of the activist judges the libTards have systematically installed over the last decades for just such rulings?

13 posted on 03/26/2006 11:02:47 AM PST by maine-iac7 ("...BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME." Lincoln)
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To: maine-iac7
Who was this judge appointed by? ?One of the activist judges the libTards have systematically installed over the last decades for just such rulings?

Ronald Reagan.

14 posted on 03/26/2006 11:04:59 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: SJackson
if it's to be applied at all, which will criminalize much of what goes on in the media and in government.

"will criminalize"? - or will hold to account for breaking the law and leaking classified info? Isn't it already a crime?

15 posted on 03/26/2006 11:06:33 AM PST by maine-iac7 ("...BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME." Lincoln)
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To: libstripper
This judge is a Reagan appointee.

not good =- anyone got bio on him - real one?

16 posted on 03/26/2006 11:07:43 AM PST by maine-iac7 ("...BUT YOU CAN'T FOOL ALL THE PEOPLE ALL THE TIME." Lincoln)
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To: maine-iac7; Sabramerican
"will criminalize"? - or will hold to account for breaking the law and leaking classified info? Isn't it already a crime?

For government employees. Or transmitting or possessing documents, even in your socks. Transmitting verbal information for non-employees, perhaps, this prosecution will determine that. My only point is that if it's criminal, it needs to be prosecuted uniformly. That's never been the case, perhaps it will in the future. Look to seeing indictments of many in both the media and government. I'm not saying that's necessarily a bad thing, but it's going to be quite a circus because it will change the way our nation operates.

17 posted on 03/26/2006 11:12:17 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: SJackson
"much of what goes on in the media and in government" has nothing to do with classified information.

Lack of enforcement is not a good argument here, especially since it is very hard to prove that a citizen without a security clearance knew information was classified.

18 posted on 03/26/2006 11:22:13 AM PST by AmishDude (Amishdude, servant of the dark lord Xenu.)
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To: SJackson

Usually the gov't is more interested in the original leaker. It's hard to make the case that the middleman is a threat to national security and an even harder case for the newspapers because if the WaPo won't publish it, they'll shop it to the NYT and so on.

But thanks to Fitz, these guys won't be able to argue selective enforcement.


19 posted on 03/26/2006 11:28:43 AM PST by AmishDude (Amishdude, servant of the dark lord Xenu.)
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To: AmishDude
Lack of enforcement is not a good argument here, especially since it is very hard to prove that a citizen without a security clearance knew information was classified.

I'm not arguing for no enforcement. Leaving government employees out since that's covered under different legislation, proving possession is easy, if the media, or anyone else, discloses classified information, that's a defacto admission. My guess, if these cases were actually prosecuted, the result would be a shifting of the burden of proof to the accused.

If this case proceeds, the amicus briefs will be voluminus, every media and lobbying group in the country will have their 2 cents.

If we're going to prosecute this, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing, we probably need new legislation.

20 posted on 03/26/2006 11:29:49 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: SJackson

Forget the media, lets suppose a scenario with ordinary citizens.

Homeland security has a tip. Agent of Homeland Security feels that if tip is true it endangers his family. He calls his wife to warn her. She knows he shouldn't have done so, he broke the law.

But she runs to tell her best friend and next door neighbor who may also be in danger. Neighbor gets the hint of the source, takes it seriously and warns her best friend.

Down the line classified information has been exchanged by people who pretty much knew they were sharing a Gov't secret.

Who broke the law? Who gets prosecuted?


21 posted on 03/26/2006 11:41:18 AM PST by Sabramerican
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To: Sabramerican
Who broke the law? Who gets prosecuted?

Simple, any internet poster who passes along classified information gets prosecuted.

22 posted on 03/26/2006 11:52:19 AM PST by SJackson ([Iraq] Reconstruction isnít news is it? Chris Matthews)
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To: Sabramerican

Looks like anti-Semitism runs deep, even here.


23 posted on 03/26/2006 12:10:47 PM PST by thoughtomator (Pacifism is objectively pro-terrorist)
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To: Sabramerican

I'm totally underwhelmed. First the freedom of Lobbyists is protected but the Internet is going to be restricted via McCain-Feingold?

And somehow the Republicans let this happen? I'm even more underwhelmed.


24 posted on 03/26/2006 1:21:23 PM PST by GladesGuru (In a society predicated upon Liberty, it is essential to examine principle)
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