Will radical anti-Zionist Richard Silverstein be charged with espionage?

A reader of Tikun Olam posed this query to Richard Silverstein, the Seattle-based blog’s creator, beneath the line of a post asking his readers for money to support his efforts.

Please explain why…CiF and Al Jazeera won’t touch you. Curious? 

Silverstein’s reply:


While we of course will never know if our blog’s efforts to expose Silverstein made him toxic – he hasn’t been published at CiF since Dec. 2009 – the idea that we may have had something to do with exposing this charlatan is certainly appealing.

For those unfamiliar with Silverstein, he’s a writer who claims to be a Zionist, and promoter of “social justice”, yet has expressed support for a one-state solution, repeatedly defended Hamas, has described the behavior of IDF soldiers as “bestial” and subhuman“, and has even likened Israel to Nazi Germany.

So, it was quite interesting, to say the least, to read a recent New York Times article reporting that the blogger who Israeli-born Shamai Leibowitz (who was working for the FBI) gave sensitive information to, including details of a potential strike on Iran – which he heard from FBI wiretaps of the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C. – was none other than Richard Silverstein.

The NYT reported that Leibowitz was working as a Hebrew translator for the FBI when he became concerned about Israeli lobbying efforts in Washington as well as a potential Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities. 

Silverstein, who admitted publishing posts on his blog using the information he received from Leibowitz, discussed the case with The NYT out of what he said was a desire to prove that Leibowitz, though in violation of federal law, was acting out of a sense of justice.  Said Silverstein:

“I see him [Leibowitz] as an American patriot and a whistle-blower, and I’d like his actions to be seen in that context,” 

Leibowitz has since been charged under the Espionage Act and is now in a Federal custody.

Silverstein, the unauthorized recipient of classified US intelligence information, also admitted to burning the transcripts when Leibowitz came under investigation – adding “obstruction of justice” to his list of possible federal crimes.

Finally, and quite interestingly, back in November of 2008 Silverstein gloated on his blog about  the indictment (on charges of espionage) of former AIPAC official Steve Rosen – charges which were later dropped by the Justice Dep’t for lack of evidence – which included this closing passage written in the context of imploring his readers to take the charges against Rosen seriously:

Do you want to allow [an] Aipac [staffer] to collude with Israel in order to [illegally] secure U.S. government documents?

Clearly, to Silverstein, it’s far better for an anti-Zionist blogger to collude with a federal employee engaging in espionage to illegally secure U.S. government documents in order to undermine Israeli policy.

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