Report: Official forgot secret arms deal file at airport
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Report: Official forgot secret arms deal file at airport

Classified documents on Indian weapons sales left on restaurant table, found and returned by waiter

Illustrative - top secret file open on a desk (Getty Images)
Illustrative - top secret file open on a desk (Getty Images)

A delegation of Israeli security officials on their way to arms talks in India left classified documents on a table in Ben Gurion Airport, but an investigation concluded that there was no damage to national security, Haaretz reported Wednesday.

The team, headed by National Security Council Chief Meir Ben Shabbat, was en route to New Delhi in January when a member of the delegation forgot a folder with top-secret material in an airport restaurant, the report said.

With the delegation already in the air on its way to India, a waiter at the restaurant found the papers and realized their sensitivity. The waiter called a friend whose mother works for the Israeli embassy in India.

The friend reportedly flew to India and handed the file to her mother, who gave it to the embassy’s head of security, who then reported the incident back to Israel.

An Indian airforce plane fitted with the Israeli IAI/Elta 'Phalcon' AWACS radar system, part of the multi-billion dollar arms trade between the countries. (photo credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash 90)
An Indian airforce plane fitted with the Israeli IAI/Elta ‘Phalcon’ AWACS radar system, part of the multi-billion dollar arms trade between the countries. (photo credit: Tsahi Ben-Ami/Flash 90)

Without the file, which had been prepared as part of the arms talks between Israel and India, Ben Shabbat continued the meetings with his Indian counterpart and Prime Minister Narenda Modi, the report said.

A team led by the Prime Minister’s bureau chief Yoav Horowitz reportedly investigated the security breach and concluded that the sensitive material had not been exposed to anyone who was a danger to the country.

The investigation concluded with a warning issued to Ben Shabbat’s assistant, who forgot the file in the restaurant.

The Prime Minister’s Office said in a response to Haaretz: “The incident was dealt with immediately, a security investigation was carried out and lessons learned.”

India, one of Israel’s leading customers for arms, has been seeking to add to its existing inventory of weapons manufactured by Israeli defense industries, including spy planes, unmanned aerial vehicles, anti-tank missiles, artillery and radar systems.

In February, Israeli arms producers were out in force at a military trade show in Bangalore trying to boost weapons sales.

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