After informant’s death, IDF to probe military police’s recruitment methods
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After informant’s death, IDF to probe military police’s recruitment methods

Investigatory committee formed in response to soldier’s apparent suicide earlier this year, for which two former police officers were indicted

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illustrative. An Israeli military police officer, right, speaks with an imprisoned Israeli soldier at Prison Four, Israel's largest military prison, at the Tzrifin military base in central Israel on April 26, 2018. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)
Illustrative. An Israeli military police officer, right, speaks with an imprisoned Israeli soldier at Prison Four, Israel's largest military prison, at the Tzrifin military base in central Israel on April 26, 2018. (Miriam Alster/FLASH90)

The Israel Defense Forces this month formed a new commission to investigate how Military Police assets are recruited following the apparent suicide of one such informant earlier this year.

Last month, two former IDF Military Police officers were indicted for failing to properly report the mental health of one of their informants, a soldier in the Givati Infantry Brigade, who was later found dead outside his base in an apparent suicide.

The two officers, who were recently released from the IDF, appeared in court for the first time on Tuesday for a short hearing in which a time was scheduled for the trial.

“The decision [to form the commission] was made in light of the findings of an investigation into the circumstances of the tragic death of the soldier — a cadet in a squad leaders course — days after he met with two intelligence-gathering police officers,” the army said in a statement.

In the highly unusual indictment, the two Military Police officers were charged with making false statements, failing to follow orders and conduct unbecoming of a soldier.

“The two did not report the mental distress that they had noticed in the soldier they were trying to recruit as a source for the Military Police’s investigatory unit,” the IDF said in a statement at the time.

According to the indictment, the two met with the soldier on January 9 in order to convince him to become an informat for them. During the meeting, the serviceman, whose name has not been released, agreed to assist in their investigation. However, an hour and a half later, he called one of them and said he’d changed his mind.

During that phone conversation, the soldier made it clear that he intended to harm himself, prosecutors said.

The police officers never passed that information along to their superiors — as required by protocol — including after the soldier was reported missing from his base.

The IDF said the investigatory committee was formed by the head of the IDF Manpower Directorate Maj. Gen. Moti Almoz — who is responsible for the IDF Military Police — and Military Advocate General Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek on October 10.

“The team will include officials who had previously filled senior positions in intelligence, security and law enforcement, and who have expertise, knowledge and experience in the field,” the army said.

The committee will look generally at the way the Military Police recruits informants, not specifically at the case involving the indicted officers.

“The team will consider — from a broad systemic perspective — the process of finding and recruiting sources by the Military Police’s investigation unit and how those sources are used, looking particularly at mechanisms of oversight, control and monitoring,” the military said.

The IDF said the findings of the committee were scheduled to be presented to Almoz and Afek by the end of the year.

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