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Fond du Lac native charged by Feds with taking classified documents

PALO ALTO, Calf. - A former Fond du Lac man has pleaded innocent to charges that he sent copies of classified Navy documents to Stanford University, which holds a collection under his name.

Prosecutors said 55-year-old James Hitselberger had unlimited access to sensitive materials when he worked as a translator for the Navy in Bahrain from last fall until April. He's being held without bond in Washington, after being indicted on two charges of taking national defense information that mentioned things like gaps in intelligence and troop positions. And court records show that Hitselberger was admonished a number of years earlier for talking publicly about sensitive information.

Hitselberger lived in Fond du Lac until at least 1979, and his parents still live there. Stanford's Hoover Institute holds the Hitselberger collection. It features numerous photos, recordings, and documents about political conditions before-and-after the revolution in Iran in 1979. In February, FBI agents reportedly found a classified document in the public part of the collection - plus three more items in a closed area.

An affidavit with the search warrant includes a 2005 letter from the institute, in which Hitselberger said he was sending information that's classified until 2015 - and he said he's confident that the school balances national security concerns with the needs of researchers. But once the FBI started investigating, the Institute told Hitselberger it would no longer take new items for his collection.