IDF Soldier, Journalist Stole 2,000 Classified Documents, Leaked Hundreds


shin-betA media gag order was lifted today on information pertaining to a case widely publicized outside of Israel in recent days, in which a former IDF soldier is accused of handing sensitive information to a local journalist.On October 28, 2008, an article was published in Ha’aretz newspaper that accused the IDF of defying an Israeli Supreme Court ruling against killing wanted Palestinian terrorist who could have been captured alive. A November 2008 story suggested the military had unilaterally loosened its rules of engagement and marked terrorists for assassination.

Following the publication, IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi – with permission from then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz asked the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police to launch an investigation in order to discover who had leaked the documents cited by journalist Uri Blau in his articles.

The purpose of the probe was twofold – on the one hand, to discover the identity of the source, and secondly, to recover all the documents that were believed to be in the journalists possession. In early 2009 the IDF’s field security unit, together with the Shin Bet, began the investigation.

According to the Shin Bet, close to 2,000 documents were copied by Anat Kam when she served as the assistant to the bureau chief of OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Yair Naveh between 2005 and 2007. The documents contained top secret information concerning General Staff orders, personnel numbers in the Central Command, intelligence information, information on the IDF doctrine and data pertaining to central sensitive military exercises, weaponry and military platforms. The files also contained details on what the Central Command does in the event of a major escalation – how it deploys forces to the West Bank and where it stations them there.

The leak “posed a direct and real threat to the lives of IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens,” Shin-Bet Chief Yuval Diskin said today. He added that throughout the entire investigation, the Shin Bet operated with utmost sensitivity due to Blau’s involvement. Every procedure throughout every step of investigation, he said, was taken with permission from Mazuz and State Prosecutor’s Office.

Kam is accused of stealing over 2,000 IDF documents, many hundreds of which are termed “secret” and “top secret.”¬†On July 15, 2009, the Shin Bet reached an arrangement with Blau that within three days, he would deposit all the documents within his position with the Shin Bet. Several days later, he met with Shin Bet representatives and handed 50 files to them, as well as his laptop computer. The device was destroyed in Blau’s presence, and the Shin Bet purchased him a replacement. The Shin Bet was also obligated not to use the documents returned by Blau to locate or track the source of the leak.

The Shin Bet agreed not to launch a criminal investigation against Blau based on the information that he had provided. The agreement stipulated that in the event that the journalist would want to use info that he gleaned from the documents in the future, it would be done with approval from the Shin Bet’s legal department.

At this stage, the Shin Bet did not know who had leaked the documents. A short time later, the Shin Bet identified Kam, now 23, as the source of the leak. During her interrogation, she confirmed that during her army service she had collected thousands of documents containing sensitive material. Toward the end of her service, in 2007, she burned them on a CD and transferred them to her computer at home. In the summer of 2008, Kam tried to interest another journalist in the documents; he was interested, but talks with Kam fell through. Between July and October 2008, she transferred to Uri Blau many of the documents. Upon receiving them, Blau went on to publish several articles based on the information.

On January 14, 2010, an indictment was filed against Kam. She has been held under house arrest for five months.

During the investigation, however, the Shin Bet realized that there was a major gap between the number of documents Blau had returned and the number Kam said she had given. Additional intelligence obtained by the Shin Bet reinforced suspicion that Blau was still in possession of hundreds of documents classified as top secret.

Blau is currently residing in England after leaving the country in December 2009.

Diskin said Blau was wanted for interrogation, stressing that the journalist must immediately clarify the whereabouts of the additional documents that the Shin Beyt suspects are in his possession. Diskin said that in the coming days the Shin Bet would “speed up” its investigation, with the goal of obtaining and securing the documents as soon as possible.

“The risk is great, since we do not know where these documents are,” Diskin said. “We have reasonable grounds to suspect that Blau has additional documents in his possession.”

Explaining the need for the publication ban that was lifted today, Diskin said that until April 6, the Shin Bet had conducted negotiations with Blau’s attorney in an attempt to reach an arrangement under which the documents would be recovered. As a result, the Shin Bet maintained the publication ban and decided Thursday to lift it after receiving a negative answer from Blau’s attorney regarding the request to return all documents remaining in his possession.

“From a security perspective, and due to the needs of the investigation, after much consideration we found it necessary to maintain the gag order until today,” Diskin said. He added that Kam underwent security clearance before being appointed to the sensitive position in which she served in Maj.-Gen. Naveh’s office. He also said that after Kam was discovered as the source of the leak, the IDF made several changes and improvements to its information security apparatus in order to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future. While calling the investigation of journalists a “minefield,” Diskin said it was possible the Shin Bet was overly sensitive when conducting its investigation of Blau and should have “taken off its gloves earlier.”

“We carried on with this investigation too long,” Diskin said.

Asked what Anat Kam’s motivation was to copy the documents and leak them to a journalist, Diskin refused to elaborate except to say that it was done for ideological reasons.

{JPost/Yair Israel}


  1. “She should be hung like any traitor.”

    If you are going to appear to be stupid,Dovid, at least do it like a mensch: be grammatically correct.

    The past participle of “hang”, used in a judicial sense, is “hanged”.