Justin Elliott at TPM has an interesting piece on the latest developments in the Stewart Nozette spying case, that the prosecutor said in court that Nozette had admitted to an FBI agent that he had passed classified info to Israel in the past. Mark Wauck interpolates:
1. Elliott expresses surprise: "the prosecutor made a fairly extraordinary claim in court yesterday, seemingly without backing it up."
What the prosecutor said was: Nozette made an admission to "the agent." Now, i’m here to tell you that there is no way in a case like this that one agent was speaking to Nozette one on one. There had to have been another agent, to corroborate the admission. If that admission was made it was written down contemporaeously and if it’s used in court the other agent will corroborate. But this sort of thing isn’t unusual–people talk to agents, even when it’s against their legal interests. there’s really nothing extraordinary in this. People do things that are (from a legal standpoint) dumb, all the time. Like getting involved in espionage in the first place. bound to screw up your life. The government is probably checking around to see if there’s any way they can confirm Nozette’s admission independently–if they can’t, then they probably can’t bring a charge based solely on what he said. And of course there has been no charge brought. The complaint was drawn up already before the arrest and before they had a chance to talk to Nozette. These things take time.
2. A good reporter, Elliott called the Israelis. "Israeli Embassy tells me, improbably, they’re not familiar enough with the case to comment."
Again, no surprise. Why should the Embassy be familiar with the case? Assuming for the sake of argument that the aerospace company was engaged in intelligence gathering (as has been claimed), they would probably avoid contact with the Embassy under the assumption that the FBI would be keeping an eye on the embassy (if the FBI tthought there were undercover Mossad people at the embassy) and they wouldn’t want to attract attention to themselves–act like a business and nothing else. Whoever in Israel was running the operation would almost certainly say: what need is there for extra people at the embassy to know about this? The more people there are who know about it, the more chances that some indiscrete remark will be dropped and the thing will be blown. wouldn’t you act the same way, following that line of reasoning?