ANALYSIS: Needless and Harmful Revelations

The decision to go public with the story of the attack on Syria’s nuclear reactor 11 years ago is foolish. The timing is not smart either. During the competition between the various media outlets in their efforts to reveal more facts, secrets will be revealed that will harm similar operations that Israel will surely have to carry out in the future.

Foolish.

That’s the description, in one word, of the decision by Israel’s defense officials to lift the blackout from the military operation that destroyed Syria’s nuclear reactor 11 years ago. It is a nosy exposure by self-interested people that will only harm the state and its citizens.

The decision to go public with the story now is needless and harmful. The timing, as well, is not smart at all. From this morning, we will have to go through several days during which the media outlets will compete around the question of who did what and when more than the other, and while they do this, they will also throw out the baby with the bathwater. Amidst a competition between media outlets to air scoops of more details about what happened, state secrets will also be blurted out, which will affect similar operations that Israel will surely have to execute in the future. These are secrets that will enrich our enemies and tie our hands. They relate to operational capabilities, methods of operation, sources of information and intelligence that should not have been exposed.

The attack on the reactor was very important and most commendable. The ones who made the decision then worked wisely and with chasdei Shamayim, achieved benefits that Israel is still enjoying today. All those who needed to know who carried out the operation knew very well. Many details leaked out over the years, but not officially, and without Israel ever taking responsibility for what happened.

This operation, which was under a blackout till this morning, was an outstanding intelligence coup. It was a rapid, brave calculated decision. The operation was creative and daring. The bottom line is that it was almost flawless and it left the Syrians and their partners with their tongues hanging out. They were taken by utter surprise and after the structures were destroyed, their construction was never renewed to this day.

And just to think what would have happened if Pres. Assad would have gone through these past six years with a nuclear weapon at his disposal. He would have long ago used it against all his enemies. Yes, all his enemies.

The military correspondents like to publicize such stories, and we, at the time, knew it all but kept quiet. It was not necessary to persuade us too much that it was a matter of life and death, and that any publication could be harmful in the future. It would have been good if the story would have remained secret until its time would have come, perhaps after 50 years had elapsed.

It’s hard to understand the rationale that is behind those who decided now, after a relatively short time, to publicize it. Now the mad race will begin by all those who were involved at the time to share their “initiative”, their “activities”, their “achievements and successes.” Each one of them aspires to place himself higher on the chart of “the doers”, and will spice up their versions with more details and revelations, without any advance caveat of “according to foreign sources…”

The waves of attention to the story will dissipate, and then we will find ourselves facing the question of all questions: Why did we need to reveal the secret? What did it give us? Now, after all the publicizing, the enemy knows much more about Israel’s ways of operation, and will prepare to thwart similar operations in the future. Intelligence capabilities will also be harmed. Who will want to share intelligence that exposes information that might identify collaborators after merely a decade, while the people are still alive?

That’s not even to speak about the condemnations and slander, claims and counterclaims that will run rife among the politicians and military brass of that time, of today, and of those seeking to become central political figures in the future.

No good will come to the country from this needless publication.