WASHINGTON (JTA) — A U.S. court sentenced an Israeli American to 20 months in prison for leaking information to a journalist.
The sentence handed down Monday in Greenbelt, Md., by District Court Judge Alexander Williams is believed to be the toughest ever for leaking to a reporter, according to Politico, which first reported the sentence.
Also unusual was the judge’s confession that he did not know what the leak was.
"The court is in the dark as to the kind of documents" leaked by Samuel Shamai Leibowitz, Williams said.
Leibowitz was contracted by the FBI as a linguist when he leaked documents to an unnamed blogger.
Leibowitz, a lawyer in Israel and in the United States, told the court he believed the documents showed a breach of the law, although he now acknowledges that "I should not have done what I did."
Leibowitz, 39, is a grandson of the late biblical scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, who also was known for his religious objections to Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory.
In Israel, Shamai Leibowitz was a civil rights activist. He is active in the Silver Spring, Md., Jewish community and writes a blog analyzing current events against biblical readings. His most recent entries deal with excessive punishment.