Dead IDF Officer’s Blood Samples Transported to U.S. Lab in Cooler Bag

Army officials say they took the unusual measure of sending the officer’s samples with a personal escort due to the sensitivity of the case

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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The grave of the intelligence officer a month ago.
The grave of the intelligence officer a month ago.Credit: Rami Shllush
Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

A representative of the Israeli army hand-carried, in an insulated cooler, blood samples of the intelligence officer who died in a military prison in May, and brought them to a laboratory in the United States.

The Israel Defense Forces demand that it deliver the samples directly presumably delayed the delivery, which was carried out about 10 days ago.

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The IDF representative flew with the cooler to the United States on a flight that had a layover in Europe. After landing in the U.S., it took a few more hours for him to reach the lab.

Israeli organizations such as hospitals, the police and research laboratories usually use specialty international services for such purposes, which in urgent cases can deliver materials to their destination within 24 hours. IDF officials say they took the unusual measure of sending the officer’s samples with a personal escort due to the sensitivity of the case.

The officer’s family has asked the Military Advocate General for samples of his blood so that they can arrange for their own tests, but have not yet received a response. Family members have questioned the potential reliability of the tests commissioned by the IDF, saying the samples may not have been packed, sealed and transported properly. The family has also asked for clarifications on the manner of transportation and assurances that the samples and the test results will not be compromised.

An autopsy was performed on the body of the officer, whose name and other identifying details are still under a gag order, the day after it was found in his cell. Even at that stage it was believed that the use of antidepressant and antipsychotic medications may have caused his death. To determine whether he might have overdosed on psychiatric medications given to him by the prison doctor, MAG had to send samples of his blood to a lab in the U.S. The agency was supposed to order the samples sent by a delivery service about two weeks ago, but Military Intelligence officials argued that due to the sensitivity of the affair, the samples had to be delivered personally by a representative of the military.

The family’s lawyer, Benny Kooznits, said in a statement that he recently asked MAG for details on the testing process, including the method of transportation of the samples, the lab carrying out the tests and the testing protocols. “In addition, they requested samples of their son’s blood so that they would have the option of sending them for tests independently,” Kooznits said.

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