Security breaches enabled Anat Kam to collect classified documents
IDF officials say top general preferred to read only hard copy versions of classified documents.
A series of security lapses enabled former Israel Defense Forces soldier Anat Kam to gather over 2,000 highly classified documents from the office of then-GOC Central Command Yair Naveh.
Eight months after enlisting in the military, Kam was promoted to the position of top assistant to Naveh's chief of staff. Prior to assuming the new post, Kam underwent a basic security clearance check.
The generals who head the regional commands receive documents from the chief of staff's office on a daily basis. The IDF maintains strict regulations that govern the handling of classified documents. Those that are deemed top secret are never transmitted via e-mail.
Rather, they are sent by messenger in a numbered, signed envelope. The recipient of the envelope is required to provide a signature. The document is then destroyed after it is read.
Most other documents also listed as highly classified are sent through e-mail via the army's secure internal network. Every general's office contains a special computer from which it is forbidden to print or to copy files. The most classified documents are only permitted to be accessed on this computer.
According to military officials who served in Naveh's office during Kam's tenure, the general disliked reading documents directly from the computer screen. Rather, the documents were transferred to another computer in the office and Kam's job, on order of the chief of staff, was to print the documents from the alternate computer and deliver them to the general for his perusal.
According to prosecutors, Kam elected to copy the documents as individual files and save them on her own computer. This enabled her to allegedly print these documents, for she was unable to transfer them onto a disk.
Prior to her discharge from the army, Kam is alleged to have requested that soldiers from the technical assistance department in the central command open the computer's access to external disks. This enabled her to copy the documents she had gathered onto a disk just prior to the completion of her service.
Following her discharge from the IDF, she is alleged to have given the copied files to Haaretz reporter Uri Blau.
During Kam's service, the army's internal computer network featured an early warning detection system designed to alert users of any attempts to copy files, according to an IDF source. Yet the system was still in its early trial stages and it failed to recognize any unusual activity by Kam.
In the last year, the army has introduced a number of defense and security systems. It has reinforced its regulations and it has calibrated the new programs to work in concert with thousands of computers used by the IDF in order to prevent classified documents from being leaked.
An IDF source said these measures were planned well in advance and were not a response to Kam's actions.
At the time, Naveh was a key figure in the IDF's stepped-up campaign against terrorist organizations in the West Bank.
Moreover, by dint of his membership in the general staff, Naveh received classified summaries and reports of ongoing developments affecting every area of the army.
Naveh (res.) refused to respond to questions on the affair. Through his spokesperson, he said: "The IDF and the Shin Bet are responsible for data security and this is in no way connected to me."
The IDF Spokesperson declined to say whether any disciplinary measures were taken against members of Naveh's staff.
Naveh's then-chief of staff continues to serve as an IDF officer, though she was reassigned to another post in the central command long ago.