By Jim Kouri
Israeli law enforcement officials announced yesterday that it was prepared to indict a major publication’s journalist for revealing secret military protocols that address assassinations of Palestinian terrorist leaders, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner’s Israeli source.
Israel’s Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein formally charged reporter Uri Blau of the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz with illegal possession of top secret army documents. Weinstein claimed they had “great potential” for damaging Israel’s security, the Israeli police source stated.
“The exposure of the documents or the possibility they would reach hostile groups would have caused damage to the state’s security and risk the lives of IDF (Israel Defense Forces) soldiers,” read a statement by Weinstein.
“Unlike the United States government, the Israeli leaders have no qualms about arresting and prosecuting a journalists who compromises national security. In the U.S., the leftists would make the man a hero,” said former intelligence officer and NYPD detective Sid Franes.
The journalist was reportedly interrogated in Oct. 2010 for his role in acquiring and then publishing details contained in more than 1,500 secret and top-secret military documents.
The stolen documents were stored on computer CDs that were surreptitiously lifted without permission or authorization from the Israeli Defense Force’s Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem, according to the indictment affidavit.
One specific document, released in Nov. 2008, exposed the controversial approval by then IDF Central Command chief, Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, of a targeted killing of two Islamic Jihad terrorists even after a Supreme Court ruled the policy was forbidden, said the Israeli source.
The publication of that classified information led to an intensive internal probe that in turn led to an IDF clerk named Anat Kamm who worked at Central Command. Kamm was named as Blau’s source for the leaked documents.
Kamm eventually became a journalist herself but she was sentenced in Oct. 2011 to four and a half years in prison on charges of espionage and passing secret information without authorization.
The Attorney General’s Weinstein claimed in his press statement that he reached the decision after deep considerations “including the need to restrain the enforcement policy in order to maintain the Israeli press’ image as a free press which fulfills its duty as an essential guarantee of the public’s right for knowledge.”
The statement said that Kamm and Blau’s holding on to the classified documents, considering their quantity and sensitivity, “has nothing to do with innocent journalist work.”
In a response posted on their web site, Ha’aretz said the decision “is unfortunate and sets a precedent in terms of its ramifications on the freedom of press in Israel, and especially on the ability to cover the security apparatus.”