Israel’s Prisoner X ‘gave Mossad secrets to Hezbollah’: German report

An Australian-born Israeli spy, who killed himself while being held in an Israeli prison in 2010, had been arrested for sharing Israeli secrets with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, according to a German report.  Ben Zygier was an officer in Israel’s covert-action agency Mossad for several years before he was placed in solitary confinement following his arrest in Israel, in February 2010. Known to the outside world only as ‘Prisoner X’, he allegedly killed himself in his cell a few months later. In February of this year, when an Australian television program identified ‘Prisoner X’ as Zygier, the Australian government admitted it had been aware of its citizen’s incarceration and death, but chose not to extend to him diplomatic support. One of the burning questions in the Zygier case relates to the precise reasons for his detention. On Sunday, German newsmagazine Der Spiegel said that the Australian-born Zygier was arrested by Israeli intelligence after contacting —on his own initiative and without permission— an individual with links to militant Shiite group Hezbollah. According to the Spiegel report, Zygier had been demoted from an operations officer to a desk clerk, having failed to produce actionable results after several years of fieldwork in Europe. Seeing his demotion as a major obstacle to his career, the Australian-born spy allegedly embarked on a ‘rogue’ mission, in an attempt to impress his Mossad superiors. In 2008, when the Israeli government allowed Zygier to return to Australia to pursue graduate studies, he secretly traveled to Europe and established contact with a man from a Balkan country known to have close links with Hezbollah, considered by Tel Aviv as one of Israel’s mortal enemies. Zygier’s plan was ostensibly to turn the man into an asset for the Mossad. However, Zygier’s target asked him to prove his Mossad links, at which point, said Der Spiegel, Zygier supplied him with several names of Israel’s double agents inside Hezbollah. But instead of opting to work for Zygier, the Balkan man shared the information he was given with Hezbollah in Lebanon. This is said to have resulted in the arrest of a number of Israeli assets in Lebanon, which was seen as a massive setback for the Mossad. According to Der Spiegel, those arrested included Mustafa Ali Awadeh and Ziad al-Homsi, who at the time were believed to be Mossad’s most lucrative assets inside the Lebanese militant group. The German newsmagazine claims that, when he was arrested by Israeli counterintelligence, Zygier was carrying with him computer discs with classified information, which his captors believed were destined for Hezbollah. The report concludes that Zygier promptly confessed to his ‘rogue’ operation and was facing at least 10 years in prison when he decided to take his own life.

6 Responses to Israel’s Prisoner X ‘gave Mossad secrets to Hezbollah’: German report

  1. TFH says:

    Zygier from the onset was not likely to share secrets with Hezbollah. How did they get their claws into his soul, if they did?

  2. Kidd says:

    it is a weird scenario. that was one loose cannon. i’m somewhere between believable and highly improbable.

  3. Anonymous says:

    How did he go from an agent with no actionable intelligence to a desk clerk with a computer full of secret information?

  4. TFH says:

    Someone wanted him to leak the info he had? When he figured it out he got sour and go silenced?

  5. TFH says:

    Kidd: “i’m somewhere between believable and highly improbable,” are you a cloud in pants (?

  6. He must have done something the Mossad do not make mistakes, he was kept in isolation and tortured until everything was checked over and over then it was time for him to leave this earth, so no awkward questions could be asked, he could have been a double agent who turned when you get close to people you do get to actually like some of them, he may just have been a bit too loose in his talk, Mossad have many Hezbollah agents so he could have been tested by one and compromised, greed is the major downfall, I can testify to that.

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