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Ex-Mossad Man: No Room for Censor in Internet Age

Gad Shimron: Israel should have published details of Prisoner X case instead of letting Australia's ABC do so.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 2/14/2013, 5:45 PM

Ayalon jail, where Zygier was held.
Ayalon jail, where Zygier was held.
Reuters

A former Mossad officer, Gad Shimron, thinks Israel's Military Censor did the wrong thing by trying to prevent the publication of the Prisoner X affair. Shimron told Arutz Sheva that Israel should have preempted the Australian Broadcasting Corporation by publishing the story itself, in an official statement. The Chief Military Censor has said that the gag order on the case was issued by a court, and not by her.

"This is a big foul-up by the Censor," Shimron said. "And the MKs who asked the questions did the right thing, except that there is a built-in conflict between the institutions of a democratic state and the character of clandestine activity carried out by Mossad."

"This is a tragic incident for the man himself and for his family," he said, "but it is also a very unpleasant event for Mossad, because these people are picked out with a fine-tooth comb and undergo a long period of training. Beside their operational abilities they are supposed to possess two basic characteristics: reliability and loyalty. It is sad that for one reason or another, a person who is supposed to identify closely with the organization undergoes such a change."

'The Censor is an outdated institution," the Mossad veteran said. "If there was a Sanhedrin for censorship, this organization would have been thrown into the dust heap of history a long time ago. In the age of Internet, the censorial methods no longer work."

"Ten days ago, Israel knew that ABC is preparing an investigative report on the subject. They should have prepared for this and instead of a stupid gag order, they should have come out with the statement that was published yesterday, which does not reveal too much but admits the facts. The damage would have been much smaller."

Shimron said that Mossad is adapting itself well to the Internet age, however, and that modern communication technology poses challenges, but also opens up great possibilities. "When you chop wood, splinters will fly," he said. "You cannot prevent all malfunctions."