Was New Shalit Negotiator Victim of Financial Sting?

Hagai Hadas gradually emerging as central figure in bizarre case of alleged medical device company scam.

Hagai Hadas, formerly number three in the Mossad and the personal representative of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the negotiations for the release of Gilad Shalit, is gradually emerging as a central figure in the bizarre case of Life Keeper, a medical device company.

Hadas appears to have been the person who brought together Arik Klein, the "inventor" of the device, and the other partners, especially the director of the company, Dr. Gavriel Picker. The link between Picker and Hadas is that they are both friends of the prime minister.

Hadas, who is on the company's board, continued Tuesday to defend the device - that warns of a heart attack half an hour beforehand - and its inventor, even after concerns were voiced in the media regarding its reliability, and the deal worth billions with a British firm that apparently was a hoax.

Hadas insisted Tuesday that he had tested the device, which comes in the form of a small patch, and that it works. He also said that the device has FDA approval even though there are strong suspicions that such approvals were never granted.

The senior official refused to answer questions on the matter, including whether he holds stock in the company and if he has a financial stake in the company.

At this time there are two possible scenarios, both of which raise serious questions about Hadas' judgment. One scenario, which is hard to imagine but should be raised, is that Hadas knew of or suspected the existence of a conspiracy that appears to have been organized by Klein, and which appears to have involved a sting to con potential investors into investing at a "special price" in company stock, since the firm had been portrayed in the media to have come up with the "invention of the century." This is highly unlikely.

The other possibility is that the sophisticated and experienced Mossad officer, who headed the central operational department of the organization that had been involved in complex operations behind enemy lines, fell victim to a primitive sting operation by a crook. One would hope that in the future someone will invent a patch for common sense.

It is impossible that the man who is now holding one of the most sensitive jobs in the country, and who is a likely candidate for the post of the next Mossad chief, had not carried out even the most basic check on the persons he partnered with, a check which is routinely demanded of every junior intelligence officer.

However, those who know him from his days in the Mossad were not surprised. Along with his successes in the organization, there were questionable activities. In one instance he was involved in a case that raised alarms because of financial irregularities. However, his personal charm and bravery helped him emerge from any of his troubles and to rise to the number three spot in the organization.

A statement issued in response from the Prime Minister's Bureau said that "Mr. Hagai Hadas has an extensive past in activities for the security of Israel. On the basis of this successful record he was selected for the role of negotiator for the release of Gilad Shalit. The private affairs of Mr. Hadas are his responsibility and have no relation to his public activities."