JERUSALEM -- Anat Kamm, an Israeli woman convicted of stealing classified military documents during her army service last decade, was released from jail Sunday after being paroled for good behavior.
Kamm, now 26, stole more than 2,000 documents, hundreds of them classified and top-secret, while assigned to the office of a major general during her mandatory military service between 2005 and 2007 -- a case that in some way parallels that of Pfc. Bradley Manning, now known as Pvt. Chelsea Manning, who was convicted of illegally downloading classified documents from a U.S. Army computer.
Upon completing her army service, Kamm passed the documents to Haaretz newspaper reporter Uri Blau, who in 2008 based several reports on the documents, including one suggesting the Israeli army was circumventing Supreme Court orders in military operations against Palestinian targets.
Blau’s story was cleared for publication by military censors but tipped off an investigation by the army and the Shin Bet security agency. That probe led back to Kamm, who was arrested in 2009 and held under house arrest for months before a court-imposed gag order was lifted in April 2010, allowing Israeli media to report the case.
Originally charged with espionage, Kamm reached a plea bargain and admitted to unlawfully possessing and passing on classified material. She denied she intended to harm state security. She was sentenced to a four-and-a-half-year jail term, later reduced to three and a half years on appeal.
After 26 months in prison, Kamm was released Sunday under certain restrictions, including a ban on leaving the country for the remainder of her sentence.
A handful of activists waited for her outside the prison, calling her a traitor.
Blau, the journalist, had fled the country and ultimately returned to face charges. After agreeing to a plea bargain, he was sentenced to four months of community service in 2012.
The case raised concerns in Israel about freedom of the press.
Meanwhile, Kamm filed a civil lawsuit against Blau and Haaretz, demanding compensation of more than $700,000 for being exposed.
The army has since acted to further limit access to classified documents, but information security remains a permanent challenge.
Israeli media reported this month that an employee of the country's nuclear research center in Dimona was recently fired for using a flash drive to download academic articles in his field of expertise, chemistry, from a highly classified computer at work.
Reportedly, the veteran employee used a colleague’s computer for this on 14 occasions because his own did not have a port for external connections. He was severely reprimanded and barred from civil service for 10 months.
The judge in his case in his case said the employee’s acts posed a double security risk-- removing highly classified material that would cause Israel tremendous damage if leaked, as well as compromising all computers and related systems at the nuclear facility by possibly exposing them to dangerous spyware and malware.
Stuxnet, for example, the malicious computer worm that targeted Iran's nuclear program four years ago, is believed to have been introduced via flash drive.
Sobelman is a special correspondent.