Zvi Solow has told me that the Kamm-Blau case reminds him of the famous imaginary shtetl, Chelm. It was a place where everyone thought he was wise and no one was. Each person had to outdo the other in proclaiming their brilliance, and the smarter they proclaimed themselves the funnier they became. I’m not fully convinced. There isn’t enough humor in this case for it to merit Chelm. But there is sheer, breathtaking incompetence.
And stupidity, there’s plenty of that. Apparently, Anat Kamm’s accumulation of IDF documents was enabled by the absolute dunderheadness of her commanding general, Yair Naveh. A technological Neanderthal, Naveh didn’t like reading his top secret memoranda on computer screens. So, while there was proper handling of this data which was sent to a computer in the general’s office, which prevented copying of any documents from it, Kamm had to forward the documents to another less secure computer in order to copy them for the general. While doing so, she realized she could also copy them for herself as well. That’s how this mess all started.
Let’s leave aside all the other issues of this case: whether Kamm’s motives were pure, venal or treasonous. Did the IDF follow even basic security procedures in allowing this to happen? How is it possible that one of the senior commanders in the entire army got caught with his pants down in this fashion? This, after all, is supposed to be one of the most technologically advanced armies in the world. Yet Naveh liked the old-fashioned feel of paper in his hands as he read his top-secret memos. I’ve got news for him: it’s one thing to like reading the print version of your favorite newspapers or to prefer the crisp pages of Proust turning in your hands–but does a general have the same luxury when it comes to reading critical documents?
Given how the Israeli system is gamed to prop up the strong and relentlessly pursue the weak, not a word has been spoken about Naveh’s unpardonable lapse. No word on any reprimand for him or those in his office who knew of this appalling lapse and allowed it to continue. No citizens screaming at the systemic failure of IDF counter-intelligence procedures to avert this disaster. But millions of words from the IDF, Shin Bet and media about the young girl who allegedly endangered the republic by practically marching over to Khaled Meshal and giving him the store (at least that’s what the Israel far right would have you believe).
This case is full of the most rank hypocrisy. We have journalists clamoring for Kamm’s head who themselves have reported on top-secret documents leaked to them by IDF officers or Shin Bet/Mossad agents. We have politicians raging that her citizenship should be rescinded who themselves have leaked classified material to preferred journalists. None of them was punished. In fact, the journalists probably won promotions. The politicians still sit in the Knesset or various ministries. But Anat Kamm is a traitor because she did what everyone one of them has done.
You certainly can argue that Kamm leaked documents that were critical parts of the army’s war fighting doctrine and that this was far more severe than other types of leaks. To which I respond that every leaker has a different motivation and everyone thinks their motivation excuses the leak itself. And I’m perfectly prepared to defend this leak as one that benefited, rather than harmed the nation.