Brisbane Times reports: Security officials suspect that Ben Zygier, the alleged spy who died in a secret Israeli prison in 2010, may have been about to disclose information about Israeli intelligence operations, including the use of fraudulent Australian passports, either to the Australian government or to the media before he was arrested.
Mr Zygier “may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance”, an Australian security official told Fairfax Media.
Sources in Canberra are insistent that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) was not informed by its Israeli counterparts of the precise nature of the espionage allegations against Mr Zygier. However, it is understood that the Melbourne law graduate had been in contact with Australian intelligence officers.
Ayalon prison … Zygier committed suicide in the high-security Israeli jail in 2010 after being held for months in great secrecy.
Israeli intelligence informed ASIO of the arrest and detention of Mr Zygier just eight days after authorities in Dubai had revealed that suspected Israeli agents had used fraudulent Australian passports in the assassination of a Palestinian militant.
The consequent crisis in Australian-Israeli intelligence relations provided the context in which the Australian diplomats did not seek consular access to Mr Zygier, who was regarded by Australian security officials as a potential whistleblower on Israeli intelligence operations.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, Bob Carr, on Thursday revealed that the government learnt of Mr Zygier’s detention through “intelligence channels” on February 24, 2010. He told a Senate estimates hearing that Israel had “detained a dual Australian-Israeli citizen – and they provided the name of the citizen – in relation to serious offences under Israeli national security legislation”. [Continue reading…]