A sports utility vehicle [Illustrative].
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The official vehicle of an IDF attaché in a European country with sensitive military documents left in it was stolen while his driver and bodyguard were standing right next to it.
According to Yediot Aharonot the embarrassing security incident occurred last week after the attaché arrived at a hotel for a meeting with an IDF general who was visiting the city for work purposes.
The attaché’s local driver was waiting outside of the hotel along with the bodyguard, leaving the engine of the luxury Audi jeep running.
As the driver and bodyguard were speaking outside of the vehicle, a car thief managed to enter the vehicle and drive off, with sensitive military documents and the attaché’s personal effects still inside.
A CCTV video captured the incident and shows the bodyguard running after the vehicle as it sped away.
According to IDF protocol, military officers are forbidden from leaving military computers in their homes or cars where they are at risk of being stolen, to prevent classified information from falling into the wrong hands.
Military laptops containing classified material must be kept locked in the base's vault.
The report by Yediot stated that the vehicle was remotely neutralized shortly after the incident with the assistance of Audi, forcing the thief to abandon it. The car was later found in a predominantly Muslim immigrant part of the city where it was taken, with a wallet and two uniforms missing.
An investigation was launched by the local Israeli embassy and relevant officials and steps are expected to be taken against the men involved.
The IDF has in the past dismissed officers from their positions after their military laptops were stolen.
In 2016 Maj.-Gen. Hagai Topolansky, the head Israeli military’s manpower directorate, resigned after it was revealed that a laptop carrying sensitive information was stolen from his possession. A lieutenant colonel in the air force was suspended for two weeks several months earlier after his computer was stolen, and a year before that, Lt.-Col. Ilan Levy, an artillery commander in the northern command, was dismissed after his car was stolen with military documents inside.
The documents were later found in the West Bank by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
Earlier this month, a number of military documents were stolen from the vehicle of the IDF’s Commando Brigade Col. Avi Blot who was on a field trip with other senior officers.
The military advocate general called for a disciplinary hearing rather than criminal charges after the documents which were accidentally left behind did not contain significantly classified information.
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