IDF major suspected of attempted spying

Psychiatrist David Shamir allegedly offered to sell classified information to Iran and help Hamas.

IDF medical cool 224.88 (photo credit: IDF)
IDF medical cool 224.88
(photo credit: IDF)
A psychiatrist who served in the IDF reserves is suspected of offering classified information to foreign intelligence officials, including those from Iran, police announced Friday. Forty-five-year-old David Shamir, a major in the army reserves, was indicted on charges of attempted espionage, contacts with a foreign agent and obstructing justice. He was arrested by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) in cooperation with the Israel Police's Serious and International Crimes Unit on November 14, police said. According to the prosecution, during his IDF reserve duty the psychiatrist was exposed to classified material including emergency plans of the IDF Medical Corps, detailed plans for the deployment of medical units and control centers, procedures for providing psychiatric services to the home front during a war and tactics for evacuating civilians in the event of rocket attacks, as well as IDF intelligence and operations assessments. The November 22 indictment served in the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court asserts that "in April 2007, Shamir decided to provide information to hostile entities in exchange for money, and he contacted the Iranian Foreign Ministry by electronic mail." He allegedly introduced himself in the mail as a civilian and an Israeli officer "well tuned in to what goes on in Israel." Police said that during his interrogation, Shamir confessed that he told the Iranians he had widespread contacts with Israeli public figures and Israeli companies, including those with security clearances. The IDF psychiatrist purportedly expressed his willingness to cooperate with Iran, saying that he would be prepared "to provide further details." A few days later he received a response from the Iranian officials but he didn't finalize an agreement with them, police said. In addition, it is alleged that in August 2007, Shamir sent faxes from his home to the Iranian consulates in London and Turkey and, about a month ago, after receiving no responses, he faxed them again. Police said that after sending the faxes he destroyed them and saved the fax numbers to his cellular phone memory to lessen the chances of detection. Shamir told his interrogators that he was motivated by "greed." On November 3, he allegedly turned to the Hamas-controlled al-Azhar University in the Gaza Strip where he introduced himself as an Israeli citizen interested in "joining the struggle." Police assert that he did this to create an opening for future cooperation between him and Hamas. Shamir also allegedly wrote an anonymous e-mail to the Russian intelligence service, seeking clarification on its recruitment process and expressing willingness to join the organization. Police requested that Shamir be remanded in custody until the end of legal proceedings and until now, his remand has been extended several times for the purpose of the investigation. Shamir, who ran a drug rehabilitation clinic, was also found to be in possession of marijuana, police said. "This fact surprised the investigators, in light of the fact that he is a civil servant in a government institution who as part of his job is supposed to treat suspects sent by the court for drug rehabilitation treatment," read a police statement. Police said that Shamir would also be indicted on drug charges. AP contributed to this report.