Former Haaretz reporter Uri Blau was sentenced to four months of community service on Monday for possession of thousands of confidential military documents. Blau was convicted by Tel Aviv’s Magistrate’s Court in July as part of a plea bargain.
Blau pleaded guilty to holding classified material he had received from convicted spy Anat Kamm, but without intention to harm state security.
According to the indictment, Blau had in his possession thousands of operational documents, including classified and top-secret material. The indictment stated that he did not fulfill his duty to inform defense officials of the documents in his possession, and later his commitment, to return the documents.
During her army service in 2006, Kamm served as an assistant in the office of Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, then commander of Israel’s Central Command. Kamm copied thousands of classified documents from his office and then passed them on to Blau after she had left the army.
In 2008, Blau published details from the documents in a series of articles that led investigators to Kamm’s door, and in 2010 she was arrested for espionage.
In February 2011 Kamm entered into a plea bargain and pleaded guilty to leaking state secrets in return for not being charged with harming national security.
In October 2011, she was sentenced to four and a half years in prison and 18 months’ probation.
Blau originally fled to London when the case broke, but later agreed to return to Israel and return the documents. Investigators later accused him of not returning all the papers.
“In retrospect, I could have acted differently in various points along the way,” Blau said after the July verdict. “I worked to inform the public as a journalist and a person who is concerned with state security.”