Foreign Affairs Minister Bob Carr has confirmed that an Australian man – known as Prisoner X – worked for the Israeli government, raising the prospect that Australian passports may have been used for foreign intelligence purposes.
Ben Zygier, who was also known as Ben Allen or Ben Alon, is believed to have worked for Israel’s spy agency Mossad before being arrested and jailed in a top secret Israeli prison in February 2010.
Senator Carr says an internal report by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has raised problems with how the case was handled, adding there are still unanswered questions surrounding Zygier’s work and his arrest.
“Certainly if Australian passports were misused here, that’s something we are forced to take very seriously,” Senator Carr told reporters in Sydney.
“No country can allow the integrity of its passport system to be compromised.
“We can’t say whether it happened with Mr Zygier’s several passports. I hope the inquiry that takes place – one of the inquiries taking place – in Israel can clarify this position.
“If that’s confirmed, we’ll be registering the strongest protest.”