Charged with leaking classified national security information to Israeli government officials and journalists, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman each face a single count of conspiracy, while Mr. Rosen is charged with "an additional count of passing classified information".
But the New York Times downplays this indictment by claiming it to be "expected, but nevertheless unusual":
The charges in the long-running inquiry were expected, but nevertheless unusual. Neither Mr. Rosen nor Mr. Weissman, who have denied any wrongdoing, held security clearances.The Times does not substantiate these claims or relate their relevance vis-a-vis the necessity or legality of the indictments, but it seems to me that any harm done regarding national security and classified information should be prosecuted within the law, so why must the Times deem it unusual to follow through?
The offenses charged in the indictment fall under the Espionage Act, but no one has been charged with spying. Although the statutes do not explicitly apply only to government officials with security clearances, prosecutors have not often pursued cases like the one against Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman. They are accused of transferring classified information to journalists and foreign government officials that could be "used to the injury" of the United States or "to the advantage" another country.