Gantz orders investigation of leaks from defense establishment

Defense Minister Benny Gantz stated that the leaks "violate the State of Israel's ambiguity policy."

 Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on May 23, 2022.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz attend a plenum session in the assembly hall of the Knesset, the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem on May 23, 2022.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

In light of a series of recent leaks, Defense Minister Benny Gantz instructed the Director of Security of the Defense Establishment on Thursday to investigate leaks from within the defense establishment and operations.

Gantz stated that the leaks "violate the State of Israel's ambiguity policy."

The order for an investigation comes after KAN reported that footage of a recent cyberattack on Iranian steel plants was shown to IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi on Thursday and after Yediot Aharonot reported earlier this week that the Mossad and IDF Military Intelligence were at odds on a potential nuclear deal between Iran and the world powers.

Security leaks have been occurring to Israel's defense establishment for quite some time, though they don't happen often. 

In December 2014, Gantz, then chief of staff, ordered an investigation into a leaked video of an amphibious infiltration at Zikim beach over the summer. The leaked full footage, originally compiled for an internal IDF intelligence inquiry, showed a significantly longer battle than the version originally presented to the public.

 Israeli minister of Defense Benny Gantz gives a statement to the media at the IDF Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90) Israeli minister of Defense Benny Gantz gives a statement to the media at the IDF Central Command headquarters in Jerusalem, on March 30, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Later that month, Gantz issued a condemnation of the leaking of army communications in which officers issued orders to soldiers following a gun battle with Hamas in which Hadar Goldin was killed and his body was taken by Hamas terrorists.

In November 2020, Gantz, who was serving as alternate prime minister in a unity government with then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, criticized Netanyahu for leaking a visit he made to Saudi Arabia, calling the move "irresponsible."

In April of last year, Israeli defense officials called for a probe into the leak of an alleged Israeli attack on an Iranian cargo ship used by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), after The New York Times reported that Israel notified the US that it was responsible for the attack just days after it happened.

Later that month, Gantz called for the immediate opening of an investigation to uncover who in Israel had been leaking classified details on Israeli operations to the media. The defense minister stated that he had turned to the Shin Bet, the IDF's Information Security Department and then attorney-general Avichai Mandelblit to open an investigation.

“I am not talking about a specific operation, but I do want to talk about the chatter issue. 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,” he said at the time.

“I am not talking about a specific operation, but I do want to talk about the chatter issue. 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.”

Defense Minister Benny Gantz

That call for an investigation came just after foreign media quoted "Western sources" for saying that the Mossad was behind an attack at a nuclear facility at Natanz in Iran.