Ex-employee of Biological Institute Suspected of Revealing State Secrets

Yossi Melman
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Yossi Melman

Defense Ministry investigators raided the home Monday of a former employee of the Israel Institute for Biological Research suspected of revealing state secrets.

The investigators, from the Defense Ministry's security arm Malmab, confiscated a computer and other material belonging to Dr. Yehoshua Gozes during the search of his Ramat Hasharon home, and took him to the Defense Ministry's Kirya compound in Tel Aviv for questioning.

Gozes was informed by the investigators that he was suspected of revealing state secrets, a crime that carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

The investigation began in June 2008 following a series of articles in Haaretz about anthrax vaccine experiments conducted on Israel Defense Force soldiers in the early 1990s, led by Dr. Avigdor Shafferman, the director of the Nes Tziona-based institute and an anthrax specialist.

Some employees at the institute have been questioned about their ties to Dr Gozes since the beginning of the investigation.

Dr. Gozes is a past chairman of the institute's committee for research workers, a position he left because of friction with Dr. Shafferman.

Since then, he has been suspected by Dr. Shafferman and Malmab investigators of causing trouble, based on complaints he submitted against Shafferman to the State Comptroller, the Attorney General, Malmab and other officials.

The investigation has also focused on an employee dismissed by Dr. Shafferman who has continued to receive a wage and turn up to work for several years despite the fact he has no specific role there. The investigators believe the employee is the source of leaks about the anthrax vaccine experiments.

Dr. Gozes was released after refusing to answer questions from the investigators about his ties with the other employee.

He told Haaretz that he has "no doubt that this is revenge for my past activities." He has denied any involvement with the leaking of state secrets.