Former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman are charged with passing classified information. The government has hired three expert witnesses to show that the former lobbyists broke the law and exposed America to a national security threat. The first terroism expert witness is Dale Watson, who headed the FBI’s counter-terrorism operation until 2002, was in charge of investigating early Al Qaeda attacks against the United States in Saudi Arabia, as well as the bombing of American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the assault on the USS Cole in Yemen. Forward.com also writes:
While details of what Watson will be asked to testify about were kept under seal, sources following the case said that he will be asked about the importance of the information given to Rosen and Weissman in terms of fighting the war against terror.
Another expert witness who will be called by the prosecution is William McNair, the former information review officer for the CIA’s directorate of operations. McNair, who retired in 2003, was the CIA’s lead official in dealing with issues regarding the release of classified information. He appeared many times in court, opposing requests based on the Freedom of Information Act. According to press reports, McNair was one of only a few officials within the agency who had access to all classified documents.
The third witness the government intends to call is Paul Dettmer, assistant deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Air Force’s Department of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance. All three expert witnesses are expected to be part of the prosecution’s attempt to prove that information communicated by the defendants was “potentially damaging to national security” and “closely held.” This was the bar set by the judge in the case, T.S. Ellis III. The witnesses, each of them an expert in the field of intelligence, will be asked for their views about the importance and classification level of the information.