Dichter: Officials Who Perpetrate Leaks Are Akin to Terrorists

Dichter made the comments at a memorial ceremony for late Haaretz military analyst Ze'ev Schiff.

Public Security Minister Avi Dichter said Thursday that officials who leak sensitive information to the media are akin to participating in a criminal gang or a terrorist group.

Dichter made the comments at a memorial ceremony Thursday at Tel Aviv's Institute for National Security Studies for late Haaretz military analyst Ze'ev Schiff, who passed away last June after decades of writing for the newspaper. The discussion was aimed at addressing the balance between the media's obligation to inform the public and the security needs of Israeli society.

Dichter said the media shows its responsibility to the nation when it refrains from publishing sensitive information that could harm the country strategically. He noted that publishing detailed information on suicide bombings, for example, allows terrorists to better plan their next attack.

However, Dichter highlighted the scandal surrounding the 1984 bus 300 hijacking as an example of the press making a controversial, but ultimately appropriate decision to expose wrongdoing within the security services. In that affair, Shin Bet agents allegedly killed the terrorists after they had been neutralized and removed from the bus. The now-defunct Hadashot newspaper exposed the affair, causing rifts among both the public and elected officials over whether the exposure was necessary. "The media did not harm any security need, and presented the hard and hurtful truth before all of us," he said.