The IDF Spokesperson’s Office categorically denied Thursday a report from the day before that three colonels from the IDF’s Intelligence Corps quit in anger over improper appointments in the upper echelons of the army’s largest branch.

“We regret that the article presents allegations based on cheap rumors that have no grounding,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Office wrote in uncharacteristically strong language. “The facts as they are presented are utterly baseless. The allegations raised by the [Maariv] journalist, both in terms of the process of appointments within the intelligence corps and the [alleged lack of] necessary training and experience to perform the relevant duties, are incorrect.”

The article claimed that senior appointments were made as if “in a club,” and that a relatively inexperienced officer who was well-liked by Military Intelligence head Aviv Kochavi had been appointed to the position of head of operations.

The army countered that Colonel M., the new appointee, had already filled two colonel-rank roles in the intelligence branch with distinction, including that of head of an arena in the operations center, and that he is “a professional and meritorious officer” who is also a graduate of the National Security College.

The officer’s candidacy for promotion was raised in the usual manner and his appointment was authorized by the IDF chief of General Staff, the army said. “Any attempt to tarnish this appointment with thin and unsubstantiated claims is improper, unfair to the officer and strays from the truth.”

The editor-in-chief of the Maariv daily said he stands behind the report. “There may always be arguments over one detail or another but in general the article is correct,” Nir Hefez wrote in a text message. “We stand behind it.”