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After Mossad report, Gantz calls for investigation into security leaks

CM 12/04/2021

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Defense Minister Benny Gantz called on Monday for the immediate opening of an investigation to uncover who in Israel has been leaking classified details on Israeli operations to the media. Gantz sent the request to Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit.
“I am not talking about a specific operation, but I do want to talk about the chatter issue,” Gantz told reporters on Monday. “It is a serious issue and I turned to the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF’’s Information Security Department to open an investigation into it. We can’t operate when everyone is babbling. We can’t accept these winkings and these ‘Western sources’ stories.
“It harms our troops, our security, and the interest of the State of Israel, and I think that there should be a thorough investigation,” Gantz said. The Defense Ministry later said that Gantz also sent the request to Mandelblit.
Gantz’s call for a probe came a day after “western sources” – widely assumed to be Israeli – were quoted in the media saying that the Mossad was behind the cyberattack at Natanz, which caused extensive damage to Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility. It was also less than a week after reports that the Israeli Navy was behind an attack against Iran’s IRGC Saviz vessel in the Red Sea.
Asked if the cabinet changed Israel’s policy of ambiguity regarding top-secret operations, Gantz said that “there was no discussion about it. I think that it is irresponsible behavior – and if it comes from personal or political interests, it is even worse.
“I don’t know where it comes from,” he added, “but I know where it is not coming from.”  I hope that the prime minister has great experience in the diplomatic-security field, and am not belittling it. I think that all other consideration should be pushed aside, and I hope that this is what he is doing.”
On Monday Gantz and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin visited Nevatim Air Force Base – the home of the IAF’s F35 squadrons – and the secretary was briefed by IAF commander Maj.-Gen. Amikam Norkin.

The secretary was presented with new developments, cutting edge technologies and systems, including new innovations on the F35, the Iron Dome missile defense system recently acquired by the United States, the Arrow anti-ballistic missile, the David’s Sling, the Trophy military active protection system, and others.
Gantz later said that the visit should not be taken for granted, and that it illustrated the deep friendship between the two countries. “I have a years-long acquaintance with Secretary Austin, and his visit also shows also the importance of the security relations of the countries, and how the Biden administration sees them.”
The defense minister said that the duo discussed Israel’s strategic challenges, including the JCPOA, the Iranian entrenchment efforts throughout the Middle East, normalization with the Arab countries, the conflict with the Palestinians, the need to strengthen ties with Jordan and Egypt, and Chinese activity in the region.
“We talked about how we see the right nuclear agreement, and the way it should be treated,” Gantz said. “We believe that the old agreement isn’t good enough, and the pressure on Iran should be kept. And that an agreement – without an expiration date and with the proper ability to oversee it – should be reached.
“We found a listening ear, and there’s an American commitment to cooperate, even if we don’t always agree 100% on all different topics,” he added.
Gantz also said that Austin received a presentation on the way Hezbollah and Hamas build their power and their combat doctrine – and that an essential foundation in it is operating from densely populated areas.
“[We talk about] the implications of this topic on the ICC trial,” Gantz said. “The Americans support us on this issue.”

Source: Jerusalem Post

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