IDF FORCES operate inside the Gaza Strip during Operation Protective Edge.
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
The cabinet wartime leak of classified IDF plans in the summer 2014 likely constituted a serious criminal act, but it will not be investigated for a variety of reasons, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein said on Monday.
The statement came in response to a petition to the High Court of Justice by the Movement for Quality Government in Israel.
In the course of Operation Protective Edge, a Channel 2 news report cited the content of an apparent presentation shown by senior military officers to the cabinet, detailing IDF assessments of the various options Israel had, and the costly consequences of a full-scale invasion of Gaza.
After the 50-day conflict with Hamas ended, the Movement for Quality Government in Israel petitioned the High Court in September 2014 to investigate the matter.
The NGO said that whoever leaked the information to the media had carried out an illegal act and harmed national security, due to the circumstances and timing of the act in the middle of combat with Hamas. A failure to investigate would lead to an undermining of public trust in the authorities and might further harm state security, the movement warned.
The High Court instructed Weinstein to provide a written account regarding his decision to investigate, or refrain from investigating, how the classified data reached the media.
Responding to the petition, Weinstein said that “publicizing content shown in the cabinet is an illegal act. Accordingly, in principle, a person who leaked the data out of a cabinet meeting apparently carried out a criminal act.”
He added, “Under the circumstances of the matter, there is an apparent reasonable suspicion of a criminal offense.”
In addition to classified data prohibitions, the leak may have violated laws prohibiting the disclosing a fact illegally, or violation of public trust, the attorney- general added.
However, Weinstein said he would not open a criminal investigation due to “varied facts and interests,” including the type of information disclosed and the forum from where it was leaked.
Unfortunately, Weinstein added, such leaks are a common phenomenon.