A senior official in an unnamed Arab country has been working as a spy for Israel without his knowledge because he believes he is working for a “civilian entity,” the daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday, quoting the official’s handler.
The official, who has been code-named Torpedo by Israeli intelligence, has been providing information of major intelligence value for five years, the paper said.
To recruit the official, a wide range of intelligence had to be gathered – where he was able to travel abroad, the stage of his career and whether he would consider entering the business world, the paper said.
Yedioth said Unit 504 of Military Intelligence obtained the approval of Israel’s military censor for news on the affair to be released. Unit 504 is a human intelligence unit that operates both domestically and abroad.
“In the course of gathering the information, I discovered that he had an acquaintance, a distant relative, who lives abroad and who in the past had contact with a certain industry,” Torpedo’s handler, whom the paper identified as D. based on the first initial of his first name, told Yedioth.
D. made contact with the acquaintance, who eventually brought up Torpedo’s name and mentioned how well-connected he was. D. said he would give it some thought and get back to the acquaintance.
“Here too, my aim was to convey the sense to him that I wasn’t enthusiastic, wasn’t in a hurry. I wanted to create expectations from him so that he would check his emails every day and wait for my reply,” D said.
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That was to be followed by the initial contact with Torpedo at a fancy office building on a lake, though the paper did not say in which country.
Yedioth reported only limited details of the case and said it would release a fuller story in its Friday edition.