Six months after news of the Anat Kam affair
broke, Uri Blau, the Haaretz reporter who Kam passed stolen highly classified information to, returned to Israel on Sunday. Blau had been staying in London even before the affair hit the media, has since been in a lengthy negotiation with the State Prosecutor's Office and the Shin Bet over an agreement for his return to Israel as a suspect.
Blau returned to Israel following an agreement signed by both his and the state's representatives, supervised by the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein and State Prosecutor Moshe Lador. According to a Justice Ministry Statement, Blau handed 1,550 classified documents he received from Kam to the state, including those he never published. Blau stated that those were all the documents he received from Kam. Many of the documents were marked Secret and Top Secret.
Blau must report to the police for questioning under caution on the subject of the stolen papers, and has agreed to a joint Shin Bet and police interrogation within 48 hours of his arrival. He has also made a sworn statement that he no longer holds any of the stolen documents, in any format. In addition, he has committed himself to undergo a polygraph test – if needed.
The Justice Ministry has stated that "the investigation into Blau's holding of classified stolen documents will continue as necessary, after which the information will be passed on to the State Prosecutor who will then decide whether to proceed with an indictment".
According to the statement: "Due to the issue's high sensitivity, the fact that we are dealing with a journalist who claims he held on to classified information due to accepted practices and the fact that the previous agreement with Blau was arranged by the former attorney general, the decision whether to indict Blau over the stolen documents he received from Anat Kam and which he held on to for a lengthy period of time, will be made by the attorney general subject to a hearing in his presence."
"Reason is victorious, both State security and journalistic integrity have been upheld," Blau's lawyer, Mibi Mozer, told Ynet. Meanwhile, people close to Anat Kam have commented on the issue and said that: "We are happy that Blau has returned to Israel and hope he will cooperate with the investigation, as Anat did from day one, and that it will bring the affair to a swift close."
Meanwhile, Kam's associates welcomed Blau's return, saying his presence will shed some new light on her involvement in the case.
Legal sources told Ynet that if Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein decides not to file official charges against the reporter, it would likely mean that the documents in Blau's possession are not as critical as initially believed – a fact Kam's defense team would be able to use in her favor.
Nevertheless, the sources qualified, it is possible that Blau's return may also delay the proceedings against Kam.
The prosecution and the defense are currently trying to negotiate a plea bargain in the case, but if the State Prosecutor's Office decides to indict Blau, the State will be able to claim that the severity of the charges against him reflects of her case, thus working against her legal interests.
According to the indictment, Kam, a 23 year old from Tel Aviv, allegedly copied over 2,000 classified documents during her military service, which she spent at then-GOC Central Command Yair Naveh's office. Kam copied thousands of documents onto a CD, and then to her personal computer.
The documents, in various classification levels, included operational military information, security and situation assessments, meetings' minutes and protocols, highly sensitive intelligence information, orders of deployment and battle, drill briefings, and warfare doctrines for the West Bank.
Kam then gave some of the documents to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau, who used them in a series of features he wrote about targeted killings of terrorists by the IDF.
Kam remains under house arrest,
while Blau has been in hiding in England since the affair came to light.