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Israel defence minister’s cleaner charged with spying for Iran

Israel has charged a member of Defence Minister Benny Gantz's housekeeping staff with espionage, saying on Thursday he offered to spy on him on behalf of "a person identified with Iran", the country's arch-enemy. Using a false name, Israel says the suspect "identified himself as someone working in the home of the Israeli minister of defence, and noted his ability to assist the group in various ways".

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 A man employed in the home of Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz was charged Thursday with attempting to spy for the Black Shadow hackers, who are purportedly linked to Iran. Israel’s military is not capable of eliminating the Iranian nuclear threat entirely, a former defense minister and chief of staff said Thursday.

According to the indictment published by Israel’s justice ministry, Omri Goren Gorochovsky, a 37-year-old resident of the central city of Lod, was arrested on November 4.

What actually happened?

The indictment says Gorochovsky and his partner worked as cleaners in Gantz’s home in Rosh Haayin outside Tel Aviv.

Gorochovsky allegedly contacted the Black Shadow hacking group via Telegram on or about October 31 with an offer to pass information from Gantz’s home.

Black Shadow was blamed for a massive hack targeting an Israeli internet service provider last month.

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The Israeli charge sheet describes Black Shadow as “Iran-affiliated”.

Using a false name, Israel says the suspect “identified himself as someone working in the home of the Israeli minister of defence, and noted his ability to assist the group in various ways”.

According to the charge sheet, Gorochovsky told a Black Shadow representative that for a “monetary sum” he would convey information via malware that he proposed implanting with a USB device.

To prove his credibility, the indictment says, Gorochovsky sent photographs of various items in the minister’s house.

Those included his work desk, a package with a sticker that contained an IP address, mementos from Gantz’s previous role as Israel’s armed forces chief of staff, family photos and a property tax payment receipt.

In a separate statement, Israel’s Shin Bet internal security agency said Gorochovsky did not gain access “to classified materials”.

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“Accordingly there were no such materials that were transferred from him to the sources he contacted,” the Shin Bet said.

Reuters with additional input by GVS 

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