FBI Linguist Gets 20 Months for Leaking to Blogger

Sentence underscores Obama's hard line
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 26, 2010 4:05 AM CDT
FBI Linguist Sentenced for Spilling to Blogger
The Justice Department is pursuing leakers of information with a zeal that has surprised many analysts.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, file)

A former FBI linguist who leaked to a blogger information so top secret that even the sentencing judge wasn't allowed to know what it was has been sentenced to 20 months in prison. "I don't know what was divulged, other than some documents, and I don't know how it has compromised things," the judge said before sentencing Hebrew scholar Shamai Leibowitz. The linguist, who pleaded guilty to divulging classified information, said he believed the information he leaked exposed a violation of the law, the Washington Post reports.

Leibowitz has become only the third US government employee ever to be convicted for spilling classified information to the media. Analysts say the conviction highlights the surprisingly hard line the Obama administration has taken against leakers. "They're going after this at every opportunity and with unmatched vigor," a spokesman for the Federation of American Scientists tells Politico.
(More Shamai Leibowitz stories.)

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