Grave IDF Security Lapse Enabled Kamm Document Theft
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.
20 thoughts on “Grave IDF Security Lapse Enabled Kamm Document Theft – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I’m sorry if this is off-topic, but there is a new development in the IDF’s ongoing march towards a military/police state, and hopefully this will go viral before it’s too late.
The IDF have come out with a new order that’s merely a pretext for the ethnic cleansing of thousands of Palestinians from the West Bank.
This is just a veiled form of ethnic cleansing and I cannot believe that Israeli courts are allowing this to happen.
Have you seen this Richard?
JERUSALEM – Newly released court documents say a former Israeli soldier accused of stealing classified military secrets has admitted taking them to show Israel committed “war crimes” against Palestinians.
I would say that is a PURE motive. Let the powers that be in Israel call it “treason” all they want, her reason, as given per “newly released court documents” was to show “WAR CRIMES against the Palestinians”
Great stuff, thanks!
If Chelm was an imaginary shtetl, then how come my grandmother’s family is from there?
Rakiah, your question prompted me to look up “Chelm”
I am sure Richard is using it in the way written about here (scroll down)
Although yes there is a real town of Chelm.
Why can’t you “believe that Israeli courts are allowing this to happen.”?
This is the Israeli court system we are talking about.
I know the “wise men of Chelm.”
I just think that many people don’t know that there was an actual Chelm.
I was once at a guest lecture at a university I attended. The speaker was known as an expert on Jewish Humor (several years ago so I don’t remember the professor). He brought up many of the Chelm jokes, and discussed that while Chelm never existed, it was a way for the jokes to be about a ‘mythical’ place that didn’t put down any specific people per say. When in the question and answer section, I asked him how it could be a mythical place, being that my grandmother’s family was from there, he told me I must be mistaken, and there was no place called Chelm. It was very surreal.
I think I did hear that there was a real place called Chelm. But of course the stories about it have taken it into a fictional or allegorical realm. It would be interesting to trace the historical Chelm & figure out how & why it became this mythical place in Yiddish folklore.
The defence that the IDF made the leaks too easy, will not stand up in court. It’s like saying that the doors of the bank were open. The defence that this was done to PREVENT an illegal action might; it’s the strongest available defence, unless the authorities have completely concocted a case out of nothing. Exposing illegality that’s already happened may be worthy, but it’s not necessarily legal justification for breaking other laws once the damage has been done. However, preventing a more serious crime, is, or ought to be a defence to most charges, especially as Israel was once willing to applaud the wartime allies for imprisoning or even hanging Nazis, many of whom were guilty only of failing to do what this young lady did do.
In this context, “more serious” would have to involve the loss of innocent life to be sufficiently unambiguous to justify defiance of a lawfully-appointed (but not necessarily lawfully-acting) authority. This leads us onto the question of whether or not the state of Israel today regards any non-Jewish life as “innocent”.
Medawar’s advice is to concentrate on whether war crimes were prevented or hindered by the leak, and whether or not the policy enshrined in the leaked documents was inherently illegal.
As to whether the state of Israel breaks international law or not, perhaps David Milliband might be called?
RE: “…the crisp pages of Proust turning in your hands…” -R.S.
MY COMMENT: Oh, yes! Imbibing In Search of Lost Time / Remembrance of Things Past should always be accompanied by the sweet, musty fragrance of aging vellum!
I’m a little surprised that this post seems to be concerned by security lapses within the IDF. Are we supposed to want an efficient IDF? Why would we want this collection of racist thugs to be secure in hiding their crimes? I’m confused.
My point is that Anat Kamm’s alleged guilt should be mitigated by the far more egregious lapses of the IDF in protecting it’s top secret documents.
MK Yulia Shamalov-Berkovich (Kadima) asked the Minister of Interior Monday to use his powers to close down the Haaretz newspaper, following recent revelations of an espionage scandal involving the newspaper’s reporter, Uri Blau, and a former soldier, Anat Kam.
Is it even possible this could occur?
About as likely as Bibi Netanyahu will become the next Pope. The idiot right wing rails & spews, full of sound & fury signifying nothing. But the fact that she shreys & gets this into the mainstream media is damage enough to Israeli democracy. A rule of thumb is never to beleive anything you read at Arutz Sheva (the site you linked to) unless confirmed by a more credible source.
I know the source is not credible, but in this case it’s giving the name of a Kadima member calling for this in the Knesset. Has Israel ever closed down a newspaper before on issues like this (which THEY are calling a security issue-Kam and the Haartz reporter who is thus far still in “hiding” avoiding turning over what they are demanding) Let me reword that, I’m asking if any Israeli newspaper has ever been closed down before over a “state security” issue.
Bibi becoming the pope sure would be interesting! In light of the current Pope’s behavior covering up things I think it might be an even exchange (though not the same crime-definitely a CRIME nonetheless-and yes I’m a Catholic)
Yes, to my knowledge one paper was closed after violating a gag order concerning an act of terror in which the terrorists were captured alive & then murdered at the direction of the Shin Bet. If I recall the events correctly.
Also, Uri Avnery was attacked & nearly killed in the 1950s, he believes at the behest of the Shin Bet.
Ah, I answered my own question, yes, indeed, and the newspaper which was shut down was owned by the same owners of Haartz. It was Hadashot. They were closed down for a few days over the “Kav 300 affair in violation of the Israeli Military Censor” and then went out altogether in 1993.
So seeing that yes, a paper, which interestingly had the same owners, was shut down in Israel, isn’t it possible that if this drags out, considering the current right-wing government, that Haartz COULD be closed down?
This is unfortunately cut-off but here’s the article
Just saying it wouldn’t be the first time Israel has shut down a newspaper. There may be other cases as well but I found this one
I do not know Solow, but that is a particularly suspect metaphor. Chelm is an image of charming goofiness, applied here to a band of mafiosi whose daily job is violence, murder, torture and oppression. There is nothing charming or goofy about the fact that these people also make silly mistakes. Let’s remember that this is not a soap opera but one of those places where the hope of millions for the most basic rewards of life is murdered daily.
Doesn’t the Chelm flow through Essex?