Daily Israel Report

Ex-Shin Bet Officer: Ministers Can't Keep Secrets

Former senior Shin Bet man Menachem Landau says Israel can't surprise its foes if ministers leak plans.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 9/5/2012, 8:32 PM

Menachem Landau
Menachem Landau
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Menachem Landau, a former Department Head in the Shin Bet intelligence organization, thinks the government's diplomacy-security cabinet should be disbanded in favor of a smaller forum, in view of recurrent security leaks from the larger forum.

The forum includes 19 ministers, some of whom have observer status only. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu angrily disbanded a session of the cabinet Wednesday because of leaks after an earlier session of the cabinet Tuesday. Yediot Aharonot wrote Wednesday that intelligence officials were not united in their assessments before the cabinet.

"There is a very unacceptable phenomenon here," Landau told Arutz Sheva Wednesday. "One cannot run a country in this fashion."

"It is unacceptable that everything becomes public," he stressed. "These are discussions of confidential matters, some of which are supposed to be executed in a surprising manner."

Landau disagreed with suggestions that every minister who was present at the session take a lie detector test. Instead, he said, the forum should simply be dissolved.

"This forum does not have any usefulness and it should be canceled," explained the intelligence expert. "There are people there who do not understand the sensitivities and turn everything into a political move. One thing is clear: the good of the state of Israel is not what they are thinking about."

Landau said that Netanyahu should content himself with convening a small forum consisting of himself, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the professional experts. "Now that we are before elections, every minister uses the sessions to advance his own political needs, and therefore the wide gathering is harmful and unnecessary."

It was Minister of Infrastructure Uzi Landau (Yisrael Beytenu) who suggested that “Every minister who was present at the discussion, including intelligence and defense establishment officials, must be obligated to take a lie detector test.  Until we discover who was behind the leak, the security forum cannot meet again."

Likud Cabinet Minister Michael Eitan opposed Landau’s idea and said that a scaled-down security forum should deal with the Iranian nuclear threat.