Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Philadelphia Bulletin: Former Israeli Army Clerk Indicted After Turning Classified Documents Over To Media

Did Washington have Access to the Files?

by David Bedein

Jerusalem - Every day, dozens of documents arrive at the hub of the Israeli Army’s Central Command office - summaries of classified meetings, secret presentations, secret situation assessments and secret investigations.

For a period of at least three years, between 2004 and 2007, all of these documents were seen by one clerk, Anat Kam.

At her desk, Anat Kam perused documents that the director of the Israel Security Agency describes as “the fantasy of every intelligence organization.”

Ms. Kam stored 2,200 of these documents in a discrete file on her Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) computer. These documents included operational orders, orders from the Israeli Army General Staff, summaries of meetings of the IDF General Staff’s forum, troop deployments, IDF emergency assessments, battle drills, intelligence about arms and the operating doctrine for IDF troops.

Seven hundred of these documents were defined as “secret” and “top secret.”

Before her discharge from the Israeli Army, Anat Kam transferred this massive collection of security documents to her personal computer.

In September 2008, after Ms. Kam secured a job on the Internet edition of the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, she provided these documents to senior reporter Uri Blau, who covers military and security affairs for the paper.

After Ms. Kam handed over the documents to Mr. Blau, she carefully explained to him the significance of each document that she handed over, including clarifications about the names of operations and their objectives, along with IDF codes and dates.

Mr. Blau used some of the Kam documents in reports that he published in Haaretz’s weekend supplement-reports that were given to the army censor at first and printed only after they were approved. One of these reports published in September 2008 under the headline “Classified IDF Documents: Chief of Staff and IDF Upper Echelons Approve Killing of Wanted Men and Innocent People - Despite High Court Ruling.”

Israeli Security officials read Mr. Blau’s report and were amazed at the “secret documents that had reached Haaretz and began to suspect that the reporter had other classified papers in his possession.

Mr. Blau had initially told Israeli security officials that he had 50 such security documents, and that he would agree to hand them back, so long as there would be no recrimination from the Israeli law enforcement authorities against him. However, in December, when Israeli security officials discovered that Ms. Kam had given him 2,000 documents, Uri Blau fled Israel for London, out of fear of being arrested by Israeli security.

The Israeli security establishment has a number of options available as to what they will do with Mr. Blau, if he refuses to return to Israel.

The first would be to issue an international arrest warrant for Mr. Blau, by means of the Israel Police’s representatives in Europe, with the assistance of Interpol.

The other option is to send out a Mossad hit squad team, as Israel did in the case of Mordechai Vanunu, who was kidnapped overseas in 1986 and brought back to Israel for trial in the matter of highly classified documents that Mr. Vanunu had pilfered and published in The Times of London, concerning the Israeli nuclear facility in Dimona.

Meanwhile, the Israeli security investigation of Anat Kam continues, focusing on her ideological connections to people who protest Israeli security policies.

Israeli security officials are also looking into the possibility that Kam may have shared some of the Israeli security documentation in her possession with her brother in law, Sam Sokol, who is the permanent stringer and translator for The Washington Post’s Jerusalem bureau.

Mr. Sokol used to work for Haaretz

The Israeli District Attorney has meanwhile indicted Anat Kam, saying that she acted out of “ideological motives, with intent to harm state security,” the penalty for which is more than ten years of imprisonment.

A high-ranking Israeli security official says that the exposure of these documents by Ms. Kam “harmed the State of Israel’s security substantially. There aren’t even words to describe the damage that could be caused.”

See this report at Israel Behind the News

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