Analysis: The mysterious case of IDF ‘Officer X’ who died in an Israeli prison

Aviv Kochavi

The State of Israel has been in turmoil for several weeks, after it became known that an outstanding officer in one of the elite technological units of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Intelligence Division (Israel Military Intelligence, or IMI) was found dead while in custody in a military prison. He had been serving an eight-month sentence on suspicion of causing serious security damage to a critical intelligence technological system. The IDF’s chief of staff, Major General Aviv Kochavi (pictured), said in relation to the case: “The officer from the IMI committed very serious offenses. He committed them on purpose, for reasons I cannot describe. He almost [revealed] a big secret and we stopped it in the [last] minute”.

After the officer’s death, it was revealed by the IDF that his arrest was not a case of treason, or espionage and that he acted for personal, rather than for ideological, nationalistic or financial motives. Following public pressure about IDF’s handling of the matter and the unclear circumstances of the officer’s death, the IDF has provided some more details.

Officer X, who, according to an American website was named Tomer Aiges, was a 25-year-old captain with three honorary awards by the IMI. He had graduated from high school while simultaneously receiving a BSc in computer sciences at the age of 18. Before enlisting in the IDF, he worked in several hi-tech companies in Israel. People who worked with him there testified that he was a young man with extraordinary technical abilities, which is why he was recruited to the technology unit of the IMI.

There are two main issues of concern among the Israeli public. One is how the officer was held in custody for a long time without being brought to trial, even though a serious indictment —the details of which are not known— was filed against him, and when no one except his parents knew about it. To the young man’s acquaintances it seemed that he had mysteriously disappeared. What is more, much of his page on Facebook was deleted and no further updates appeared following his arrest. It was reported that during his arrest, there was a process of criminal mediation, in which the State of Israel sought to sentence him to ten years in prison.

The second problematic issue concerns the circumstances of his death. There are many questions about to how he could have died when his detention cell was under non-stop surveillance by closed-circuit cameras. Further questions remain as to why the investigation into the circumstances of his death has yet to be completed. There have been demands by Israeli former intelligence officers to hand over the investigation to a civilian inquiry committee headed by a Supreme Court judge, as there is grave concern that the IDF could be hiding information that could demonstrate it was negligent in protecting the officer’s life.

The publication of additional details about this case is subject to a strict ban by the Israeli military censorship —it should be noted that Israel is the only Western country that exercises security censorship. The Israeli public is eagerly awaiting the publication of further details about the circumstances of the death of the intelligence officer, Officer X.

Dr. Avner Barnea is research fellow at the National Security Studies Center of the University of Haifa in Israel. He served as a senior officer in the Israel Security Agency (ISA).

Author: Avner Barnea | Date: 18 June 2021 | Permalink

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2 Responses to Analysis: The mysterious case of IDF ‘Officer X’ who died in an Israeli prison

  1. In many countries Officer X’s fate would have gone unnoticed by the general public. Good for the general public of Israel.

  2. 1984 says:

    > it should be noted that Israel is the only Western country that exercises security censorship

    Since the conserative party in Australia used Cambridge Analytica to steal the last two elections they two have created a censorship regime that threats the heart of Australia democracy and freedom of speech.

    And worse have used to justify the theft of billions of dollars of resources from one of the most (if not the) poorests of countries in the world.

    It used bs ‘national security’ laws to give a former intelligence agent a long custodial sentences via a secret court and threated journalists with prison for reporting on it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2021/jun/18/witness-k-should-be-shown-judicial-mercy-not-used-to-deter-others-court-told

    There is a huge uproar and its utterly disgusting that the Australian security appratuts has followed orders, illegally intercepting the privillaged communications between East Timor and its legal consuel.

    Whenever the conseratives get into power they use the power of the state to enable theft, straight up thievery. And worse, the act of stealing those resources are given to their buddies in mineral resource extraction companies.

    One hand washes the other.

    But then again i guess spies and intelligence officers are happy to follow the illegal orders of a corrupt government. No honour.

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