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JAG Gets 6 Mos, Dismissal For Gitmo ‘Leak’

From the Navy Times:

JAG gets 6 months, dismissal in Gitmo case

By Andrew Scutro – Staff writer
Monday May 21, 2007 8:57:13 EDT

He claimed he was trying to do the right thing by leaking information held in secret by the government, but seven Navy officers did not agree. After deliberating for three and a half hours, the jury sentenced Lt. Cmdr. Matthew Diaz to six months’ confinement and dismissal from the Navy.

Jurors asked in their recommendation to the convening authority, Rear Adm. Fredric Ruehe, that Diaz’s pay not be forfeited during his six-month confinement. Diaz has several dependents, including an ex-wife, a wife, a daughter, his mother and his father, who is on death row in California.

“I’m very, very happy with the result,” Diaz said as he left the courtroom after the sentence was read.

Although the sentence serves as a recommendation to the convening authority, Navy prosecutor Cmdr. Rex Guinn said Diaz would “[G]o into the brig immediately.”

Guinn said the prosecution team also was happy with the result.

“We think this will send a clear message that you can’t just release classified information no matter how good an intention you think you have.”

Navy prosecutors had asked the jury to confine Diaz for seven years and dismiss him from the Navy. Defense attorney Patrick McLain asked the jury to issue Diaz a letter of reprimand.

During a weeklong general court-martial that delved into just what makes information classified, Diaz was found guilty on four charges that he printed out secret info about detainees at Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January 2005 and sent it to a civil rights lawyer in New York who was trying to litigate on their behalf.

The jury took just three hours on Thursday to arrive at the conviction. Diaz was found innocent of one charge, printing a document “with intent or reason to believe that the said information was to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation.” That charge carried a potential 10-year prison term.

When the sentencing phase began Friday morning, Diaz faced a possible 13-year prison term, dismissal from the Navy and complete forfeiture of pay and allowances, including retirement benefits.

Throughout the proceeding, the defense team never contested that Diaz, who served as the deputy staff judge advocate at the detainee site, printed out 39 pages of names and other information from a secret intelligence database about detainees held at Gitmo. Or that he stuffed the record into an anonymous Valentine’s Day card and sent the package to high-profile civil rights attorney Barbara Olshansky, who was trying to pry loose the same information from the U.S government.

Diaz’s defense team argued that he did not know the information was classified — even though he had worked at Gitmo for six months — and that he had no intent to harm the U.S.

“We’ll be frank until the cows come home that what he did was stupid, imprudent and sneaky, if you want, about the way he sent it off,” but he didn’t mean to harm his country, McLain said.

In fact, McLain said, it was Diaz’s obligation as a lawyer and an American to abide by the Constitution when he felt the government did not.

“He had the right motive in his mind,” McLain told reporters outside the Navy courthouse. “It was right to fight to get the government to do the right thing, but there were ways to do [it so] that we wouldn’t be in the process we’re in today,” he said.

In an unsworn statement to the court, Diaz said he felt the government was “stonewalling” over the release of the names.

Early in Friday’s proceedings, Diaz’s daughter, wife and ex-wife took the stand in his defense. They testified about their financial and emotional dependence on Diaz.

In his statement, Diaz also asked the jury to keep his family in mind during sentencing.

“I’m ready to accept the punishment you impose on me. I deserve to be punished,” he said. But “please take [my family] into account when you consider a sentence.”

He also said he regretted the trouble he’s caused.

“I let [my family] down. I let the JAG corps down. I let the Navy down.”

No wonder Mr. Diaz is so happy. He got off very easy.

This opaque article left out that Mr. Diaz was “leaking” to the Communist front Center For Constitutional Rights, who are defending the terrorists at Guantanamo.

From Wikipedia:

Barbara Olshansky

Center for Constitutional Rights attorney Barbara Olshansky is author with Dave Lindorff of The Case for Impeachment: The Legal Argument for Removing President George W. Bush from Office (ISBN 0-312-36016-9). She is part of the movement to impeach George W. Bush. Olshansky and Lindorff include as rationales for impeachment in The Case for Impeachment

“lying and inducing Congress and the American people into an unjust war; allowing his friends and business cronies to profiteer off the war in Iraq; authorizing torture and rendition of prisoners of war and suspected terrorists — a complete violation of the Geneva Conventions, a treaty the U.S. has signed and is therefore part of our law; stripping American citizens of their Constitutional rights — holding people with no charge, wiretapping them illegally, offering them no trial, and never allowing them to face their accusers; [and] failing in almost every way possible to defend the homeland and our borders.”

In other words, Barbara Olshansky is the enemy.

Mr. Diaz should have been tried for treason.

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, May 21st, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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