Shin Bet: Steinitz Didn't Leak from Cabinet

Kuwaiti paper claimed Finance Minister leaked details of secret Cabinet session and tried to blame Barak.

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Gil Ronen,

Yuval Steinitz
Yuval Steinitz
Israel news photo: Flash 90

The Shin Bet issued a denial Tuesday to a report in a Kuwaiti paper that accused Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz of leaking details of a secret Cabinet session to the press.

The newspaper, Al Jareeda, reported that a Shin Bet check of the ministers' phones pointed to Steinitz as the culprit, and that Steinitz had tried to blame Ehud Barak for the leak.

However, Voice of Israel public radio reported that the Shin Bet denied the report and that Shin Bet head Yoram Cohen called Steinitz and clarified that the report was baseless. Steinitz's bureau also rejected the claims.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu had cut short a cabinet session September 5 and announced that contents of the previous day's session had been leaked.

"The security of the state and its citizens depends on the ability to hold confidential and in-depth discussions in the Security Cabinet," he stated. "Yesterday, somebody severely undermined the confidence that Israeli citizens give to this forum,” he revealed. “He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of Security Cabinet discussions. He also hurt the good name of those present at the meeting who did not leak its contents."

Steinitz said of the leaks: “These leaks have crossed the line and therefore, we should consider testing everyone via polygraph, even me, and the other thing we should do is reduce the forum.” 

Steinitz has accused Barak of "stinging" the government in the matter of the planned Iran strike, by peddling an alternative approach to the U.S. government. Barak's Independence Party responded to Steinitz’s comments by saying, “Yuval Steinitz is a confused and delusional man."