IDF Intel Officer’s Promotion Scrapped After He Failed Polygraph Test

Standard security check includes questions on drug use, contacts with journalists and outside connections.

Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen
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IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot attends an officer training graduation ceremony, June 17, 2015.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz
Gili Cohen
Gili Cohen

The designated commander of a classified operational Military Intelligence unit in the Israel Defense Forces failed to pass polygraph tests, and senior MI officials informed him Wednesday that his appointment has been canceled.

The IDF had decided to appoint an officer with the rank of lieutenant colonel, who grew up in the unit and is considered one of its outstanding officers. As part of the appointment procedure, the officer had to pass a polygraph test.

According to military policy, when a commander is promoted to the rank of colonel he must undergo a comprehensive security check, which includes a polygraph test. Usually this test focuses on three aspects – drug use, contact and relations with journalists and passing of secret information to unauthorized people. The polygraph test is a condition for a promotion, along with a number of additional security checks conducted under orders of the Shin Bet security service.

The officer failed the first polygraph test and was therefore scheduled to undergo an additional test, which was also unsuccessful. In recent days senior MI officers had to make a decision about his appointment. On Wednesday it was decided not to promote the officer and to cancel his planned appointment as commander of the classified unit.

Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot is expected to decide later about the officer’s military future, and whether he will be appointed to another position in the IDF.

The IDF spokesman said in response that “In light of issues that arose in the course of the security check, it was decided to cancel for now the appointment of a commander in one of the MI units.”