Blue and White said to hire private intel firm to sniff out leakers

Blue and White said to hire private intel firm to sniff out leakers

Report says initial findings from probe by CGI Group suggest more than one person in Gantz-Lapid party is behind leaks to the media

From left: Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon, Gabi Ashkenazi of the Blue and White party at its official campaign launch in Shefayim, July 14, 2019. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)
From left: Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Moshe Ya'alon, Gabi Ashkenazi of the Blue and White party at its official campaign launch in Shefayim, July 14, 2019. (Gili Yaari/Flash90)

Blue and White has reportedly hired a private intelligence agency to track down who in the party was behind a number of leaks to the media.

The initial findings of the investigation have raised suspicions more than one person was behind the leaks, the Ynet news site reported Friday.

The agency leading the probe is CGI Group, an Israeli firm specializing in business intelligence. Its president is Yaakov Peri, a former head of the Shin Bet security service and ex-minister from the Yesh Atid party, one of three factions that makes up Blue and White.

While CGI Group would not comment on the report, Blue and White said specialists were helping it with information security, without specifying whether it contracted the company.

“Blue and White is determined to replace the Netanyahu government and is aware that there are political elements trying to sabotage that effort,” it was quoted saying.

Yaakov Peri (left) and Yair Lapid at the Knesset (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The reported hiring of CGI Group came after Blue and White launched its own probe in March to determine who leaked recordings from internal deliberations of party leader Benny Gantz speaking.

In one of the recordings, Gantz could be heard saying he did not completely rule out joining forces with Benjamin Netanyahu, despite public declarations he would not sit in a government with the prime minister due to corruption allegations against him.

In the same recording, Gantz was also heard saying he was willing to make significant concessions to ultra-Orthodox parties to get them to join a coalition he would head.

The second recording had Gantz saying that on the eve of elections, Netanyahu would not mind if he were to die.

While reports at the time hinted at a possible mole in Blue and White, the party’s No. 3 Moshe Ya’alon hinted briefly that the recordings could have been made with listening devices operated from afar and not by a party renegade.

The decision to open the probe came as Gantz contended with reports that his cellphone was hacked by the Iranians.

Netanyahu’s party tried to use the hack, which Gantz was informed about last year by Israeli security officials, to show he is unfit to lead the country. Gantz charged that the leak of the breach to the media was politically motivated.

Last month, Channel 12 news reported that Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich was caught red-handed by the party leaking information to the media.

Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich attends a Knesset committee meeting on August 5, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Yankelevich, who is considered close to Gantz, failed a polygraph test when questioned over the leaks, according to the network.

It was not clear what information Yankelevich reportedly leaked.

Blue and White, which was formed earlier this year, finished second to Netanyahu’s Likud in April elections.

It is currently polling neck-and-neck with the ruling party ahead of the September 17 vote, which Netanyahu initiated after failing to form a government after elections in April rather than having another lawmaker get a crack at cobbling together a ruling majority.

Join us!
A message from the Editor of Times of Israel
David Horovitz

The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.

We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.

Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.

Become a member of The Times of Israel Community
read more: