Sunday, June 27, 2010
Shin Bet Agent Breaks Cover in US for 'Son of Hamas'
Hana Levi Julian
A Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) agent has broken his cover in an attempt to help his former fellow agent avoid deportation from the United States.
Gonen Ben-Yitzchak, who left the service four years ago, worked for 10 years as one of the handlers of Mosab Hassan Yousef, author of the book “Son of Hamas.” Yousef is the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founder of Hamas, and for a decade was also an informant for the Jewish State. The team was responsible for preventing countless terrorist attacks, among them assassination attempts on the life of President Shimon Peres and Shas party spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Yousef subsequently emigrated to the United States, and converted to Christianity. But he now faces what might be a life-threatening situation, having revealed his identity to the American authorities in an application for asylum. The former agent said he did not realize that publishing the details of his life in his autobiography might jeopardize his chances of remaining there, rather than prove his intent to sabotage Hamas.
Ben-Yitzchak has avoided cameras up to this point and was known in the organization as “Captain Loai” or “G.” However, early last week he traveled to the United States to testify on his former protege's behalf at an immigration hearing. The intelligence operative will appear before a judge in San Diego on June 30.
Ben-Yitzchak allowed himself to be photographed on Wednesday at a Washington dinner honoring Yousef and others. The honorees received the Endowment for Middle East Truth's Rays of Light in the Darkness Award.
“He risked his life every day in order to prevent” terrorism,” Ben-Yitzchak said of Yousef. “The truth is Mosab always prevented killings. Mosab is not a terrorist!”
In his book, Yousef noted that many Shin Bet operations were canceled “because of [Ben-Yitzchak's] command” in order to avoid endangering his life. Numerous advocates for the former agent have said that his life would be endangered if he is deported to Judea and Samaria.
The Department of Homeland Security, meanwhile, has declined to comment on the case. Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO), another honoree at the dinner, said he had sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano also requesting that Yousef not be deported.