Israeli peace activist arrested for leaking secret FBI documents


Politico’s Josh Gerstein reports that an Israeli peace activist and lawyer working as a linguist for the FBI has pled guilty to leaking five secret FBI documents to a blogger (whose name has not been revealed):

Shamai Kedem Leibowitz, also known as Samuel Shamai Leibowitz, 39, appeared in federal court in Greenbelt, Md. Thursday to plead guilty to a single felony count of disclosing classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized party, according to court records and a Justice Department release. Court papers said Leibowitz held a "top secret" clearance and worked from January through August 2009 for an FBI task force in Calverton, Md.

Gerstein writes that Leibowitz is on the far left of Israeli politics:

Leibowitz has a blog, Pursuing Justice ,and a web site, He calls himself "an Israeli-American attorney, admitted in New York and in Israel" and "a certified Hebrew-English translator and interpreter." One of his biographies says he was born in Haifa, graduated with a bachelor of laws from Bar Ilan Univesity in 1999 and a master’s of law from American University in 2005, summa cum laude, on a full scholarship.

According to an Associated Press profile from 2002, Leibowitz is the grandson of a famous Israeli Torah scholar, philosopher and left-wing activist, Yeshayahu Leibowitz. The younger Leibowitz drew attention for joining the defense team of a Palestinian activist accused of murder and terrorism, Marwan Barghouti. One of Leibowitz’s web sites says "he filed more than ten habeas corpus petitions to the Israeli Supreme Court resulting in the release of undocumented workers and asylum-seekers from prolonged detention."

Leibowitz is a supporter of a "one-state solution" to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict–an option most Jewish Israelis reject because it would erase Israel status as a Jewish state. He has also supported efforts to encourage U.S. institutions to divest in Israeli bonds in order to pressure the Israeli government.

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