16 thoughts on “New Media Regulations Criminalize Reporting on Mossad; Are They Warning Against Covering Major New Security Scandal? – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. There is legislative review – in this case by the Kenessat’s Security & Foriegn affairs comittee which has to approve the regulation (צו) [this is true for almost all ministry actions – they all go to committee].

    I will grant you that the committee is very likely to rubber stamp this.

    Note that anyone arrested on this charge will have to stand trial – in front of an Israeli district court. The regulation stipulates that anyone who “outs” a mossad person (current of former) is committing a crime of espionage (as the regulation states this information is “privledged” and withheld).

    It is still possible to report without “outing” – with circumspect references.

    1. @ lepxii: I had a conversation with Avner Cohen about this & misunderstood something he mentioned in his explanation. So yes, there is approval of a single Knesset committee. This committee has never disapproved any such request before nor will it now, as you concede. This is not oversight nor a real review. This is rubber stamp. The behavior of a national security state:

      As for reporting on this subject, when you report with “circumspect references” this is censorship & emasculation of the press. It is the tactic of an authoritarian regime not a democracy.

  2. Richard.
    Please don’t interpret this comment as snark. It isn’t meant to be.
    My question is this. Has your blog had any real effect on the lives of Israelis? I think it’s safe to say, that 99.99% of Israelis don’t know your blog exists, much less read it.
    The demographics of Israel suggest that Israel’s real problems aren’t going to made any less by the efforts of a lone American blogger.


    1. I live in Israel and read this blog, not that I agree with it all the time … I think it’s important to understand and/or read from a wide range of opinions.

    2. It’s a new form of snark – the humble-snark! Like the humble-brag, the humble-snark is all about covering the stinger of the brag or snark statement with some humility. The problem is, neither humble-bragging nor humble-snarking actually work.

    3. @Ben: Oops, there goes your argument: my blog is ranked 10,000 in Israel by Alexa. Often 30-40% of visitors are from Israel. And none other than Ronen Bergman told me that the blog is well read in circles he runs in: intelligence & journalism.

      Israeli Military censors aren’t in the habit of recognizing, let alone threatening bloggers unless they provoke fear or deep resentment in their hearts. I do, I’m proud to say.

      When Israel’s cyber police censor my Twitter timeline (TL) in Israel. That’s a clear refutation of your claims.

      Next time you might want to know what you’re talking about before opening your mouth.

  3. I ask this with no ulterior motive, is it the fact that Israel engages in such behaviour or that such behaviour is found in many intelligence agencies and you simply focus on Israel here?

  4. Just a minor question – how exactly is this different from the law in the US?

    The Espionage Act of 1917 the Intelligence Identities and Protection Act prohibits –

    ” to intentionally reveal the identity of an agent whom one knows to be in or recently in certain covert roles with a U.S. intelligence agency, unless the United States has publicly acknowledged or revealed the relationship” –

    and one can get up to 10 years in prison for breaking this law …

    I would assume that most democracies have similar laws

    1. @ Stan: The new Israeli regulation is far broader. It criminalizes exposing any personal details (including names, but also other details as well) of all current AND PAST personnel and criminalizes the exposure of Mossad facilities. And you can get life in prison for these crimes, not just 10 yrs. That was all in my post. Didn’t you bother reading it?

      1. No you can’t get life imprisonment – you can get a maximum of 15 years (at least according to what Haaretz had to say about it).

        Exposure of secret CIA facilities carries life imprisonment in the US under the Espionage Act including any of the following

        Harboring or concealing any individual, whether domestic or foreign in origin, whom the concealing party has reason to believe has committed or is about to commit an offense under federal espionage laws.
        Gathering, transmitting, or losing defense information, including the gathering of information on bases, stations, vehicles, aircraft, and a wide variety of other national security assets, which may be injurious to the United States.
        Gathering or delivering such information as provided above to any foreign government or foreign agent. This can include the sale or other transfer of such information as provided above, or the sale or transfer of photographs, drawings, or other representations.
        Photographing or sketching any defense installation, or using aircraft to photograph any such installation, which can be compounded by charges of publishing or selling such representations.
        Disclosing classified information, including classified information to which a person had rightful legal access to at the time when they became aware of that information. This has been the basis of most modern espionage prosecutions.

        So basically, your “exposition” of secret Israeli sites – could land you in prison for life, if the sites were US sites.

        1. @Stan: if your intent is to harm the security of the state the term is LIFE. Further, the U.S. law you mention does not refer to publication of the data in the MEDIA, which would offer special protection to the journalist. Nor does it mention punishing the reporter, as Israeli regulation dues. Under U.S. law I would not be charged since I didn’t amass the original information myself. I merely published material already published. That’s not a criminal offense under U.S. law. It would be in Israel.

          Not to mention that this less restrictive U.S. law was approved by Congress, not the executive, as in Israel’s case.

          1. James Rosen of Fox News would disagree with you – there is no special protection for journalists in indictments under the Espionage Act (since the very fact the one receives the information and does not immediately turn it over would be considered conspiracy).

            As for reusing previously published information – that would not even be a mitigating circumstance if your venue is more accessible than the original publisher.

            Get better legal council …

          2. @Stan: Of course there are no special protections under the espionage act. That’s because freedom of the press is inscribed in the Bill of Rights, which trump’s mere laws. In other words, it doesn’t need to be enumerated in the Act.

            I don’t know who “James Rosen” is but if you use Fox News as an arbiter of anything yer a damn fool. I think you meant James Risen of the NY Times. If you confused the two, that confirms yer a damn fool.

            You’re wrong yet a 3rd time. Risen wasn’t charged under the Act, never went to prison, and never revealed his sources per My understanding & recollection.

            As for whether publishing material already published offers any protection from the Act– you ain’t a lawyer, you ain’t even American based on the ignorance betrayed above, and you don’t know shit. So stop pretending you know, when you clearly don’t have a clue.

            Any prosecutor who attempted to imprison a journalist for publishing material already freely available would be laughed out of court.

          3. @Stan: Still doesn’t prove your claim. In fact, this case undermines it. Yes, Justice overreached in monitoring his communications. Later, it promised it would cease such outrageous behavior. Rosen was never charged with any crime, and certainly not under the Espionage Act, as you claimed journalists could or would be.

            Don’t comment further in this thread.

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