Defense Ministry: Barak note left in UK was not secret

Channel 2 claims defense minister left classified papers in UK hotel, later discovered by Israeli man; ministry calls incident a "breakdown."

Barak 58 reuters (photo credit: Reuters)
Barak 58 reuters
(photo credit: Reuters)
In response to a Channel 2 report Tuesday evening claiming that Defense Minister Ehud Barak left classified documents in his London hotel room last month, a statement from the Defense Ministry said the "document" was merely a hand written note containing talking points Barak intended to bring up during a meeting with a British official.
"It was neither secret nor a document," the ministry said.
All of the information in the document had been available in the media beforehand, the ministry added.
Earlier, Channel 2 reported that during a stay at the Park Plaza Hotel in London's Westminster, a staff member delivered documents to Barak in his hotel room. According to the report, when Barak and his staff departed for New York, not all of the documents made it out of his room.
Some of the documents were highly sensitive, Channel 2 reported, including several that were marked "purple brief," code for top secret.
The folder, which was described by Channel 2 as being highly secret, was found in the hotel room by an Israeli businessman, who proceeded to contact the authorities in Israel.
The Defense Ministry told Channel 2 that the incident was a "breakdown." According to the official, a staff member is supposed to verify that no documents have been left behind whenever Barak leaves a hotel, something that did not happen in this case. The ministry added that "lessons had been learned" from the incident.
Officially, the Defense Ministry said the forgotten documents were not secret, but other sources told Channel 2 they were indeed sensitive documents. The document contained handwritten notes made by Barak.