בלעדי! התמלילים המלאים של שיחות הוואטסאפ הלוהטות (שהיוו סיכון ביטחוני) בין ראש המוסד יוסי כהן – בעודו מכהן – והדיילת
Yesterday, I published a summary of the contents of Yossi Cohen’s sexting messages with his mistress, Maya Harel. I noted that there were over 200 pages of texts. Some of the content was of a sexual nature, as can be imagined. But the vast majority of the texts concerned assignations: where to met, when to meet, what stops them from meeting, etc. As I noted yesterday, in some sense the utter banality of the short text messages actually reveals deeply troubling information, which compromises Cohen himself and the security of the State of Israel.
In the post, I offered screenshots of two passages I wanted to highlight. But I’ve decided tonight to upload the two entire files to my server and make them available for all. I didn’t make this decision lightly because it will reveal some pretty tawdry material. Not to mention that if you’re not a native Hebrew speaker, you will learn a few terms you didn’t necessarily need to know. But I digress.
Yesterday, I reached out to Israeli journalists and a friend who is an expert on Israeli national security affairs. I asked the journalists if they knew of these files. If they didn’t, I asked if they might be interested in publishing them. They both responded: yes, we know about them. One of the reporters in fact said he’d known of them for “months.” But, they said, our editors decided not to publish. First, they said, because we couldn’t be sure that they weren’t obtained illegally. In other words, if a private party hacked their phones to obtain the logs that would be illegal (thought not necessarily for the journalists to publish them). Second, the content didn’t appear newsworthy given how heavily slanted it was toward the prurient interest.
Though I respect both reporters immensely, I disagree with their editors. In fact, I vehemently disagree. In reading the thousands of texts in which Maya flirts, cajoles and begs Cohen for sex and companionship, they lost track of what is less evident: that Yossi Cohen recklessly exposed his travel and meeting plans with his mistress using an unsecured person phone and the Whatsapp platform, which is known for its security vulnerabilities. He practically offered intelligence agencies carte blanche about his location, arrival times, meeting participants, etc. As a former intelligence official said in the Kan documentary, Operation Gertler, about Cohen’s behavior in Congo: he could easily end in jail for these offenses.
To further illustrate their recklessness, their affair continues for six months after rumor of it is first reported in July 2021 by Amir Oren. Only after Raviv Drucker reports on TV in December 2021 and interviews Harel’s husband, who confirms it, do they stop. What sort of public figure would be so narcissistic?
For these and other reasons, I’ve uploaded the two files to this server. The purpose of making them publicly available is not to reveal the sex lives of the rich, famous and powerful. It is to make Israelis aware of just how dangerous, imprudent and corrupt their country’s intelligence chief was (and is). Yossi Cohen needs to be held accountable for his rapaciousness, cluelessness and narcissism. All qualities which could have led to tragedy for himself and the Israeli state. One of the key ways spymasters recruit agents is by placing them, or capturing them in compromising positions. In fact, honeypots are one of the Mossad’s major means of doing so. Cohen placed himself in one of the most compromising positions imaginable.
Years ago, I made the mistake of doing a few interviews with Tzinor Layla, a late-night Israeli TV show. In order to puff up the importance of their guest they called me “the Wikileaks of Israel.” I was uncomfortable with this hyperbole because I actually hadn’t published original documents proving malfeasance or criminal behavior as the real Wikileaks had. But now, with this expose, I have done so and would humbly (and sheepishly) accept the title.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.