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Federal judge rules Rice, other US officials must testify in AIPAC espionage case

[JURIST] US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice [official profile] and other senior administration officials must testify about whether they shared classified national defense information with two American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) [advocacy website] lobbyists, a federal judge ruled [opinion, PDF] Friday. Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, indicted [PDF text; JURIST report] in 2005 under the 1917 Espionage Act [18 USC 793 text] for allegedly conspiring to receive and disclose classified US defense information over a five-year period dating back to 1999, maintain that they played an unofficial but sanctioned role in crafting American-Israeli foreign policy, and that Rice and others can confirm it.

In August, Rice and other senior administration officials argued they should be exempt from testifying [JURIST report], but US District Judge T.S. Ellis III said that the defendants have a right to argue that they regarded the meetings as simply another back channel for diplomacy. If the White House is unable to successfully challenge the subpoenas it could be forced to drop the case against the AIPAC officials. AP has more.

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