About two years ago, acting on a tip, I contacted Richard Silverstein, owner of the anti-Israeli blog Tikun Olam. My tipster said that an FBI Hebrew interpreter named Shamai Leibowitz had been arrested for revealing classified information and that Silverstein was the person he had revealed this to. Silverstein refused to answer any questions and was very insulting:
Here is a copy of our first exchange.
RE: Message via your Google Profile: Leibowitz, the FBI translator
InboxXReply |richard to me]
12/28/09You must be kidding…—–Original Message—–
From: clarice feldman
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 12:52 PM
To: [email protected]
Subject: Message via your Google Profile: Leibowitz, the FBI translatorI understand that he spoke to you . Is that true? What information did he
impart to you?
I write for American Thinker and Pajamas Media and want to give you an
opportunity to respond before I do anything with this report.
He grew quite nasty when I politely tried to follow up:
In a message dated 1/7/2010 7:00:11 P.M. Eastern Standard Time, [email protected] writes:
[my reply]I think you are being presumptuous. I asked a simple question and you seem to be evasive. Did he speak to you or not?[silverstein]On Thu, Jan 7, 2010 at 6:28 PM, richard <[email protected]> wrote:I didn’t ask to receive any e mails from you nor do I wish to in future. And after you finish writing whatever hit piece you prepare you ought to take a shower to wash off all the dirt.
I assumed the report was true since he never denied it and instead attacked me, but seeing no way to get him to speak to me or to otherwise confirm the account, I didn’t write the story.
Mr. Silverstein, 59, writes a blog called Tikun Olam, named after a Hebrew phrase that he said means “repairing the world.” The blog gives a liberal perspective on Israel and Israeli-American relations. He said he had decided to speak out to make clear that Mr. Leibowitz, though charged under the Espionage Act, was acting out of noble motives. The Espionage Act has been used by the Justice Department in nearly all prosecutions of government employees for disclosing classified information to the news media, including the record-setting five such cases under President Obama.
Mr. Silverstein said he got to know Mr. Leibowitz, a lawyer with a history of political activism, after noticing that he, too, had a liberal-minded blog, called Pursuing Justice. The men shared a concern about repercussions from a possible Israeli airstrike on nuclear facilities in Iran. From his F.B.I. work from January to August of 2009, Mr. Leibowitz also believed that Israeli diplomats’ efforts to influence Congress and shape American public opinion were excessive and improper, Mr. Silverstein said.
How convenient! Leibowitz is forbidden, as part of his plea agreement, to reveal what was in the information he leaked and Silverstein comes forward to say it was evidence of undue influence of Israelis on U.S. policy, something Silverstein’s been promoting .