As the Biden administration races to investigate a leak of classified U.S. documents, Washington and Jerusalem are remaining silent about a particularly sensitive disclosure within the trove of files: an alleged revolt by Israel’s top spy service against the judicial overhaul proposed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
The leaked document labeled top secret says that in February, senior leaders of the Mossad spy service “advocated for Mossad officials and Israeli citizens to protest the new Israeli Government’s proposed judicial reforms, including several explicit calls to action that decried the Israeli Government, according to signals intelligence.”
By itself, the direct intervention into Israeli politics by Mossad, an external spy service forbidden from wading into domestic matters, would be a significant revelation. That the information surfaced as a result, apparently, of U.S. espionage on its closest Middle East ally could further inflame what has been a time of historic political unrest in Israel.
“If accurate, this is dramatic change in procedure by Mossad’s leadership and puts Israel in unprecedented territory,” said Natan Sachs, an Israel scholar at the Brookings Institution. “It’s a sign of just how far the Netanyahu coalition has pushed Israeli society and how high the stakes are.”
The memo is among the dozens of images leaked online, and subsequently obtained by The Washington Post and other news outlets, appearing to show worldwide intelligence briefings on countries in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa; tactical-level battlefield updates and assessments of Ukraine’s defense capabilities; and much more. Information in the documents, dating to late February and early March, appears to have been prepared for senior Pentagon leaders and made available to hundreds of other personnel and contract employees with appropriate security clearances. [Continue reading…]