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Report: Australian may have leaked Mossad secrets
Published Monday 18/02/2013 (updated) 19/02/2013 21:24
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The grave of Ben Zygier, the Australian whom local media have
identified as the man who died in an Israeli prison in 2010 and who
may have been recruited by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, is
pictured at a Jewish cemetery in Melbourne February 14, 2013.
(Reuters/Brandon Malone)
CANBERRA (Reuters) -- A suspected Mossad agent who died in an Israeli jail in 2010 was arrested by his spymasters who believed he may have told Australian intelligence about his work with the Israeli spy agency, Australian media reported on Monday.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp said dual Australian-Israeli citizen Ben Zygier, 34, had met officers from Australia's domestic spy agency ASIO and had given details of a number of Mossad operations.

Quoting undefined sources, the ABC, which broke the initial story about Zygier's secret arrest and death in prison, said on one of his four trips to Australia, Zygier had also applied for a work visa to Italy.

But Mossad became concerned when it discovered Zygier had contact with the Australian spy agency, the ABC reported, adding it was worried he might pass on information about a major operation planned for Italy.

It said Zygier was one of three Australians who changed their names several times and took out new Australian passports for travel in the Middle East and Europe for their work with Mossad.

The closely guarded case has raised questions in Australia and Israel about the suspected use by Mossad of dual Australian-Israeli nationals.

Israeli lawmakers on Sunday announced plans to investigate Zygier's death, which a judge has ruled was suicide. Australia's Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, has initiated an inquiry into his department's handling of the case.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday sought to reduce media attention on the case and said he "absolutely trusts" Israel's security services and what he described as the independent legal monitoring system under which they operated.

Australia's Attorney-General, Mark Dreyfus, who is in charge of ASIO, on Monday said he would not comment on intelligence matters or suggestions ASIO had exposed Zygier's identity.

He also said he saw no need for a review of how the intelligence agencies handled the case.

"I haven't seen any need either, for any such review to take place within the Attorney General's Department," he told reporters.
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1 ) Maureen / Australia
18/02/2013 17:39
What would Netanyahu know... independant monitoring legal system. Independant of what - justice?

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/02/2013 22:09
To Maureen #1 '... independant monitoring legal system. Independant of what - justice?' Since it would all be within Israel, such a distinction would be meaningless.

3 ) ian / australia
18/02/2013 22:38
The more this goes on the less one weeps for poor Ben Zygier and, you know, I never did. There's a nastiness, an evil side, to Zionism and making Aliyah in the indifference to Palestinian suffering and grievances, tinged with contempt, it necessitates. He made Aliyah to a land he knew was stolen. Did military service for a government he knew flaunted the law and behaved like a vicious bully in the occupied territories of a sovereign neighbour. And joined Mossad, prized for its ruthlessness and

4 ) ian / australia
18/02/2013 22:39
(contd.) cunning. He lived the dream until the pitilessness of the whole machine turned on him. In a creepy way, its Zionism, with all its hard-hearted resolve, taken to its logical conclusion, its final extreme.

5 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/02/2013 23:38
'But Mossad became concerned when it discovered Zygier had contact with the Australian spy agency, the ABC reported, adding it was worried he might pass on information about a major operation planned for Italy.' That's the first plausible explanation I've heard for Israel's behavior. Perhaps pure speculation, but...

6 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/02/2013 23:30
To ian #2-3. On the other hand, Zygier died, not because he served evil, but because he tried to draw back in some way. He's a tad like the conspirators against Hitler. Yes, they participated in the evil -- but they suffered not for that, but for trying to redeem themselves. Put it this way: had Zygier continued to be a faithful servant of Israel, he would be alive today. Probably fat and happy, to boot. But I guess he had a conscience...

7 ) ian / australia
20/02/2013 21:34
#6 "On the other hand, Zygier died, not because he served evil, but because he tried to draw back in some way...I guess he had a conscience..." I'm not so sure about that Colin. I think he was basically unlucky. He got picked as a spy in Australia and was interviewd by ASIO. And that was basically it. His goose was cooked and it was gormless and naive of him to go back to Israel, especially if he thought he could keep it secret. (The fact he DID go back suggests he denied everything, but hugely

8 ) ian / australia
20/02/2013 21:35
(contd.) overestimated his value to HaMossad, and underestimated its viciousness. If he returned as a double agent he had a death wish.) I don't think he was killed because he "drew back" or rebelled (I see him as completely passive) but because as an exposed spy he was a risk. I think he was "disappeared" because he was damaged goods. Nice folks. And I don't see a conscience either. I mean, he's an Orthodox Jew, a Zionist and a lawyer. I rest my case.
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