So, Obama’s Justice Department has finally decided to play some degree of hardball with Israel?
Back in May, Obama’s Justice Department decided to back down on the indictment against AIPAC’s Steve Rosen.
Last month, Obama’s special peace envoy, George Mitchell, apparently decided to back down on pushing Netanyahu for “the settlement freeze.”
So make no mistake: This decision that the Justice Department announced today, to issue an indictment against a US citizen who was apparently quite ready to betray US national secrets to someone he thought to be an agent of the government of Israel, is a big development.
The Department of Justice website tells us that,
- A criminal complaint unsealed today in the District of Columbia charges Stewart David Nozette, 52, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, with attempted espionage for knowingly and willfully attempting to communicate, deliver, and transmit classified information relating to the national defense of the United States to an individual that Nozette believed to be an Israeli intelligence officer. The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.
Nozette was arrested earlier today by FBI agents and is expected to make his initial appearance tomorrow in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison.
“The conduct alleged in this complaint is serious and should serve as a warning to anyone who would consider compromising our nation’s secrets for profit,” said David Kris, Assistant Attorney General for National Security.
“Those who would put our nation’s defense secrets up for sale can expect to be vigorously prosecuted,” said Channing D. Phillips, Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia. “This case reflects our firm resolve to hold accountable any individual who betrays the public trust by compromising our national security for his or her own personal gain.”
…According to an affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Nozette received a Ph.D. in Planetary Sciences from MIT in 1983, and worked at the White House on the National Space Council, Executive Office of the President, in 1989 and 1990. He developed the Clementine bi-static radar experiment that purportedly discovered water on the south pole of the moon. Nozette also worked at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory from approximately 1990 to 1999 where he designed highly advanced technology. At the Department of Energy, Nozette held a special security clearance equivalent to the Defense Department Top Secret and Critical Nuclear Weapon Design Information clearances. Department of Energy clearances apply to access to information specifically relating to atomic or nuclear-related materials.
… According to the affidavit, on Sept. 3, 2009, Nozette was contacted via telephone by an individual purporting to be an Israeli intelligence officer, but who was in fact an undercover employee of the FBI (UCE). During that call, Nozette agreed to meet with the UCE later that day at a hotel in Washington D.C. According to the affidavit, Nozette met with the UCE that day and discussed his willingness to work for Israeli intelligence.
Nozette allegedly informed the UCE that he had, in the past, held top security clearances and had access to U.S. satellite information. Nozette also allegedly said that he would be willing to answer questions about this information in exchange for money. The UCE explained to Nozette that the Israeli intelligence agency, or “Mossad,” would arrange for a communication system so that Nozette could pass information to the Mossad in a post office box. Nozette agreed to provide regular, continuing information to the UCE and asked for an Israeli passport…
So, the formerly “permeable membrane” between the US strategic-scientific community and the Israeli strategic-scientific community, that had benefitted the Israeli community so much over the past 16 years, suddenly doesn’t look quite so permeable any more?
Significant too, of course, that the DOJ statement spelled out that, “The complaint does not allege that the government of Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense under U.S. laws in this case.”
Also significant: that Nozette’s main motivation seems to have been monetary.
And of course, this:
- The public is reminded that a criminal complaint contains mere allegations and that every defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Absolutely. (I mean, isn’t that the same rule the US government applies when deciding whom to snuff out in the drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan??)