Netanyahu Doubles Down On Spy Secrecy Following Prisoner X Fallout
Exposure of intelligence activities can "badly damage" state security, Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday in his first remarks on the arrest and death of a jailed Australian-Israeli with Mossad links.
In remarks to his outgoing cabinet, the Israeli prime minister insisted that the security forces be allowed to "quietly" get on with their jobs, in his first remarks on the mysterious spy saga which has dominated headlines in Israel and Australia.
"Overexposure of security and intelligence activities can damage, and damage badly, state security and that is why in every debate we must not underestimate the security interest," he said in remarks communicated by his office.
"And in the reality in which Israel lives, it must be a central interest," he said in a thinly veiled criticism of the media frenzy sparked by the exposure last week of the identity of Prisoner X -- an Australian immigrant called Ben Zygier who worked for Israel's Mossad spy agency.
According to a story broken last Tuesday by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Zygier was found hanged in his cell in Ayalon prison near Tel Aviv in December 2010, in a case Israel went to extreme lengths to cover up.
"We are an exemplary democratic state and safeguard the rights of those under investigation and the rights of the individual no less than any other state.