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A coalition of news media groups asked for permission to intervene in the classified information trial against two former AIPAC lobbyists. The coalition cited an apparent secret request by the U.S. government to hold a substantial portion of the trial in secret.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and 12 other groups, including The Associated Press and the Washington Post, asked Wednesday to enter the case for the limited purpose of challenging the government’s apparent request to close the upcoming trial in this matter.

Former American Israel Public Affairs Committee lobbyists Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman were indicted in federal District Court in Alexandria, Va., under the World War I-era Espionage Act. “The media is particularly interested in the prosecution of the AIPAC lobbyists because it is the first time the government has indicted for espionage private individuals who received classified information from a government source and passed it along to others,” Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish said. “Functionally this is not much different from what journalists covering national security issues do.”

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