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Second laptop stolen from Israeli nuclear chief
From: Erica Absetz <eabsetz () opensecurityfoundation org>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2013 10:12:38 -0500


To have one laptop stolen might be considered a misfortune, but to
have two stolen could look like carelessness, especially when you're
the head ofIsrael's nuclear programme.

News of the theft from Shaul Horev's family home in Beit Yitzhak was
kept from the Israeli public on Monday by a military censor and a
gagging order requested by the police.

The gag was partially lifted on Tuesday with a statement from Horev's
office confirming he had been the victim of a burglary. His wallet, a
"communication device" and various documents were also reported to
have been taken.

As head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), Horev is in charge
of Israel's nuclear policy and answers directly to the prime minister,
Binyamin Netanyahu.

He has the highest-level security clearance, allowing him free access
to Israel's most tightly guarded secrets, including Mossad
intelligence on Iran's nuclear programme. The AEC's statement said
there was no sensitive material on the stolen computer.

It is the second time a laptop has been stolen from Horev since he
took over at the AEC. He has bodyguards, and the home he shares with
his wife and two daughters is monitored by CCTV, but unlike government
ministers he does not have additional home security.

Israel's Haaretz newspaper reported police observations of the crime
scene. "His home did not appear ransacked as would be expected in a
criminal break-in," it said. "Also, in the previous break-in a
computer was stolen, about which it's not known whether it was merely
for his personal or business or included data he used in his work."

The blogger Richard Silverstein pointed out the irony that Israel had
previously claimed to have obtained secrets about Iran's nuclear
programme from a stolen laptop which it used as evidence of Iran's
ambitions for nuclear weapons – claims now widely believed to be

Matthew Fuhrmann, a Stanton nuclear security fellow, suggested Horev
may have been the victim of espionage. "International agencies
frequently try to steal information from phones and laptops,
particularly from the hotel rooms of officials while they are
travelling abroad. Israel in particular is known to have done this,"
he said.

"I am sceptical that there will be major state secrets on a laptop
that has been allowed to leave the AEC, but in the case of the AEC
chairman I'm not sure. Certainly this theft will not be welcome news
to Israel."
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