Report: U.S. Government Publishes Details of Israeli Missile Base that Was Supposed to Stay Secret

Arrow 3 missile fired during test launch earlier this year (Photo: U.S. Missile Defense Agency, Flickr via Times of Israel)

Israeli military officials are reported to be shocked and angry after learning that the U.S. government revealed details about a top-secret Israeli military base in documents it published seeking bids from contractors to work on the project.

On Monday, the Israeli outlet Haaretz mentioned at the bottom of a story about the development of the Arrow 3 missile defense system that Jane’s Defense Weekly had run a story showing how the U.S. had revealed plans for the construction of a secret Israeli missile base.

Later on Monday, McClatchy provided Israeli reaction to the revelation, reporting:

Israel’s military fumed Monday over the discovery that the U.S. government had revealed details of a top-secret Israeli military installation in published bid requests.

The Obama administration had promised to build Israel a state-of-the-art facility to house a new ballistic-missile defense system, the Arrow 3. As with all Defense Department projects, detailed specifications were made public so that contractors could bid on the $25 million project. The specifications included more than 1,000 pages of details on the facility, ranging from the heating and cooling systems to the thickness of the walls.

An Israeli military official who asked not to be named told McClatchy, “If an enemy of Israel wanted to launch an attack against a facility, this would give him an easy how-to guide. This type of information is closely guarded and its release can jeopardize the entire facility.”

“This is more than worrying, it is shocking,” he added.

Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Wesley Miller would not comment to McClatchy about the specific base, but did say that publishing details about construction specifications so that businesses can properly estimate their expenses was routine procedure.

Haaretz described just how many sensitive details were revealed, including the type of structures, how it is to handle high pressure levels and protect electrical components:

Jane’s Defence Weekly magazine recently published a story showing how official U.S. publications reveal plans to construct a secret Israel missile base designated for the Arrow III. According to the story, this is part of an Israel Air Force plan to expand an existing facility in Tel Shahar, between Jerusalem and Ashdod, whose location has never been officially revealed.

The estimated cost of this expansion is $25 million. The report detailed the construction plans: Four underground missile launchers, each carrying six interceptors (Reshef model). The report said this information means that Israel can potentially launch 24 Arrow III interceptors against a barrage of ballistic missiles.

The Times of Israel describes the publication of the classified information as a “faux pas” while the Times of London says it was done “inadvertently.”

The Times of Israel reports that Israel relies on the knowhow and experience of seasoned American contractors, despite the risk of security leaks.

Haaretz on Monday quoted a senior IDF officer who said that Israel is trying to speed up development of the Arrow 3 missile interception system due to ongoing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

Col. Aviram Hasson, who heads the branch of the Defense Ministry responsible for developing anti-missile systems said, “We want to reach a situation in which Israel has a ready defense for any threat, present or future.”

The report of this latest security leak comes on the heels of a report by Israel Radio two weeks ago that Obama administration officials apologized to their Israelis counterparts for confirming that Israeli military aircraft were responsible for airstrikes on the Damascus airport in early May.

Israel Radio’s diplomatic correspondent Chico Menashe reported that lower ranking officials at the Pentagon were behind the leak, which is now being reviewed.

Israeli media suggested then that Syrian President Bashar Assad was forced to make threats on Israel once it was reported that Israel was behind the strike rather than rebel fighters.

(H/T: Drudge Report)