(photo credit: IDF [file])
New security measures have been taken to secure several air force bases across the country after soldiers disguised as civilians managed to breach security in a top-secret base in the South and even steal a computer and codes to war rooms, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
The security flaws were discovered during a routine inspection of the IAF base by the IDF's Information Security Unit, a branch of Military Intelligence.
During the inspection, a number of soldiers in civilian garb succeeded in gaining entry to the base, then entering operations rooms, stealing a laptop computer with classified information and even confiscating identity cards from two squadron commanders.
"This is a serious flaw in IAF security," explained one IDF officer familiar with the results of the inspection. "We need to view what happened as if spies succeeded in entering the base."
Last month, the Post reported on an IAF decision to beef up security at the Nevatim Base in the Negev after a series of infiltrations by Palestinians and Beduin.
The IAF base in Nevatim, the largest in the country, took several years to build and was opened for operations last year. The project, which included the expansion of Nevatim and construction of the largest runway in the Middle East, cost an estimated NIS 1.6 billion.
IDF sources said that in the past three months, there had been at least four known infiltrations at the base. In response, base commander Brig.-Gen. Eden Atias decided to beef up security around the base. The sources said that in one case, four Palestinians were found in a part of the base that was under construction. They were detained for questioning and later released.
In response to a query from the Post, the IDF Spokesman's Office released the following statement: "Inspections are part of the exercises that the IAF conducts in a wide range of issues, including information security. These inspections are carried out frequently. The IAF puts a special emphasis on information security and preventing it from reaching unauthorized elements. The inspections were meant to prepare the bases and to uncover flaws in order to avoid them in the future."