The System Simply Failed
'We were not on to him in time'

Yediot Ahronot
November 25, 1999
By Yoram Yarkoni

From the Transcript : The mystery witness: the Commissioner of Security in the Ministry of Defense, who is also responsible for security at the reactor. He admits: There was information about Vanunu, that should have lit a red light. The damage: the publication exposed the soft underbelly of the reactor.

Among the witnesses in the trial of Mordechai Vanunu was the Commissioner of Security in the Ministry of Defense (CSMD) - one of the most sensitive position in the state. This position is so secret, that the state refuses to permit revealing the name of the person in the post. Among other things, the CSMD is responsible for securing Israel's secret installations, including the Dimona reactor.

From additional transcripts of Mordechai Vanunu's trial, which are brought here for the first time and expose the confusion that gripped the security establishment after the affair exploded and the publication in the Sunday Times, it arises that the CSMD admitted that "Vanunu proved that the system failed."

Vanunu's attorney, Adv. Feldman: "With what you know about the defendant and what you knew about him then - how could the defendant work at the NRF (nuclear research facility)?

CSMD: "We held an internal investigation committee on that subject, and indeed, there was incorrect operation of the system. The system failed in this area, and therefore harsh conclusions were made. There was simply a failure of the system in this area," he said.

He also said, that one of the damages that Vanunu caused in the Sunday Times exposure was making the option of bombing the Dimona reactor relevant in the view of the Arab states.

CSMD: "One of the forms of harm to security was the bombing of ... (censored) in the reactor, which became relevant after the exposure."

Feldman: "In fact, there is a way to paralyze all activity in the reactor, not necessarily by means of that place that was publicized in the Sunday Times?

CSMD: "That is a complex answer. It depends on what measures are taken beforehand, what are the security measures, whether there is sufficient warning time, etc."

The witness was asked about additional damage that was caused by Vanunu's revelations, and he admitted that Norway demanded the return of the "heavy water" that it supplied to Israel.

Feldman: "What does Norway claim, why do they want the water returned?"

CSMD: "Once again, I will say what appeared in the newspaper. According to publications, Norway seems to feel that it was a partner to creating nuclear capability in Israel by supplying heavy water. Norway claims that they were promised that the heavy water would only be used for peaceful purposes."