Thursday, April 08, 2010

Anat Kam: Whistleblower or Spy?

Following a request by the prosecution, the court has lifted most of the gag order concerning the "Mysterious Security Affair", which has been in place for 4 months. I didn't expect to learn anything new, since I thought the foreign press has already published everything, but I was surprised to find some details that, if true and not prosecutors' spin, have given me more confidence in our justice system.

Until now, I thought the story was this: Anat Kam, a young gossip columnist, gave a couple of secret documents to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau in which Major General Yair Naveh, head of the Central Command, wrote illegal orders and instructions allowing soldiers to kill terrorist suspects even if they don't pose a threat to the forces. Kam was a whistleblower revealing the army's disregard for Israeli law and our own supreme court's decisions while Uri Blau was a good investigative reporter who had to flee from prosecutors who are unfamiliar with the concept of a free press.

Now, after reading the new information, the government sounds a lot less sinister, and Anat Kam a lot less innocent. It is not just two or three documents that she has. She is accused of stealing about 2,000 top secret documents, with very sensitive information. Most of it isn't about illegal actions by the army but about operational plans and troop movements. The most sensitive stuff there is. Our enemies would love to get their hands on this.

The gag order was even more counterproductive than I thought. Not only did many Israelis know about this affair from the internet, they got a distorted picture. If the accusations against Anat Kam are true, she deserves a few years in jail.

Uri Blau is now in negotiations with authorities over whether he'd be forced to testify against Kam and what materials that he got from her he'll have to return and destroy. He shouldn't have to testify. The big question in my mind is what documents he still has. If he has top secret information that would endanger soldiers, he should return it or destroy it. He shouldn't be forced to return materials that are uncomfortable to the army but don't endanger Israeli security.


  1. It goes farther than that, he lied before, he said all the flies were returned (before they found Kam as the leak), but now they know he didn't return most of it (he returned only 50). It was obvious that something more was happening because no one was arrested after the article(which went through censorship clearance you know) or anything. This is called espionage, she should get at least 10 years. She endangers the state, the Haaretz writer is just as guilty, not for the article, but for not returning the files, and lying to the Shin Bet (Shabak).

  2. The Israeli Shin Bet are a bunch of arrogant ass-holes who think they are above the law. Why are the journalists being pursued for treason instead of the army heads being persecuted for illegal assassinations? This is a witch hunt.

  3. Anat Kam isn't being charged for something she did as a journalist, but something she did as a soldier. She didn't just take documents about illegal orders, but also much more sensitive information like tactical and strategic information. As for Uri Blau, I doubt he'll be prosecuted.

    I think there should also be an investigation into Gen. Naveh's illegal orders, but that doesn't mean Kam is blameless.