Three senior IDF intelligence officers resigned recently following what they call “questionable” appointments to key positions. The Intelligence Corps typically remains in the shadows, but recent accusations have put the spotlight on unit commander Brig. Gen. Aviv Kochavi.

Three colonels, who until recently held some of the most senior and classified positions in the intelligence community, announced their resignation because of alleged preferential treatment in appointments, according to a report in Maariv.

The army denied the report Thursday, saying the article was based on “cheap rumors that have no grounding.

“The facts as they are presented are utterly baseless,”  the IDF Spokesperson’s Office wrote in uncharacteristically strong language. “The allegations raised by the 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.”

According to anonymous officers quoted by Maariv, important and sensitive appointments are made as if “in a club.” In one recent instance, Kochavi appointed a relatively inexperienced officer, to whom he had purportedly taken a personal liking, as head of operations. It would have been an extremely fast track even for prodigies, an officer told Maariv, adding, “I’m not even sure he’s a prodigy.”

Several officers asked the state comptroller for an external investigation into the matter.

The officers said an atmosphere of rebellion permeates the unit’s chain of command. They said people felt jobs were being given to those with the right connections, and that rubbing elbows has taken priority over job performance in the Intelligence Corps.

The IDF called the report a baseless rumor. All appointments were made in a professional manner and were conducted according to protocol, a spokesperson said. “They were all approved by the defense minister and chief of General Staff.”