Slim chance of another Anat Kamm, army says

Slim chance of another Anat Kamm, army says

More lie-detector tests, increased network security have reduced likelihood of another mass document theft from IDF computers

Mitch Ginsburg is the former Times of Israel military correspondent.

Anat Kamm during a court hearing in 2012 (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/ Flash 90)
Anat Kamm during a court hearing in 2012 (Photo credit: Yonatan Sindel/ Flash 90)

Shortly before military document-leaker Anat Kamm was released from prison Sunday, the army made clear that it has taken drastic steps to reduce the probability of such a large-scale security breach from recurring.

“The chance of document theft on that scale happening today has been reduced significantly,” the assistant head of the IDF’s information security unit, Lt. Col. A, told the army magazine Bamachaneh in its January 23 issue.

The officer said that the IDF has, ever since Kamm’s arrest in 2010, increased its usage of lie-detector tests for soldiers with access to classified information by “tens of percent.”

Additionally, the army has upgraded its internal security networks online. The officer said that the security on the IDF’s internal network in 2006, when Kamm stole documents from a computer in the office of OC Central Command Maj. Gen. Yair Naveh, “was in its infancy,” and that since then any deviation from normal activity on the IDF’s system, such as a deluge of downloaded documents, is easily recognizable and bound to trigger an alarm. “The system gives us a real-time picture of confidentiality observance online,” he said.

The officer said that the IDF has also increased its security over information portals, through which information is put on or taken off the IDF network. Today, every such procedure requires an officer’s signature. “Had these protocols been in place during her time, her superior officers would have had to sign off on every blackened document,” the officer told Bamachaneh.

Kamm served in 2006 as a clerk in Naveh’s bureau. A former high school reporter, she downloaded 1,800 documents from several computers in the bureau and kept them on a disc-on-key. Top secret military plans, including details of the planned invasion of Gaza that was eventually launched in December 2008, were among the documents she downloaded.

In 2007, Haaretz reporter Uri Blau met Kamm at a conference in Tel Aviv and gave her a ride home to Jerusalem. As they approached the capital, he explained on a 2012 episode of Channel 2’s investigative news program Uvda, Kamm handed him the disc-on-key and told him, “I hope you’ll know what to do with this.”

Uri Blau pled guilt to possessing classified materials in July 2012 (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/ Flash 90)
Uri Blau pled guilt to possessing classified materials in July 2012 (Photo credit: Yossi Zeliger/ Flash 90)

Blau never spoke with her again. He went over the documents, though, and published a story detailing secret IDF meetings in which targeted killings were authorized on operations that were supposed to be arrest raids. He submitted it to the army censor, in accordance with Israeli law, and was cleared to run the story. Published in 2008, the article included a photo of the actual IDF documents.

Months later, the Shin Bet contacted Blau and eventually found Kamm. In 2011, she was sentenced to four and a half years in jail on charges of leaking classified material, without an express aim to damage national security. Blau plead guilty to possession of classified documents and was sentenced to six months of community service.

The Supreme Court reduced Kamm’s sentence to three and a half years and the parole board cut it further by a third, reducing her time served to two years and two months.

In 2011, Kamm filed suit against Haaretz and Blau for failing to protect her identity as a source.

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