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The case of the Israeli spy minister recalls the dangers of narcissists in power

The case of the Israeli spy minister recalls the dangers of narcissists in power

22 2018 June
Tags:Israel, Middle East, Politics, Analytics, Iran, Espionage, Arrest

A special case: a former Israeli minister was arrested for spying for Iran. Given the antagonism between the two countries, this seems somewhat unthinkable. But all questions will fall away if you look at the personality of Gonen Segev. And after looking, think how dangerous such people are in the corridors of power, including the Russian one.

Gonen Segev was arrested in Equatorial Guinea in mid-May, after which he was extradited to his historical homeland. They are convinced that since 2012 the former Minister of Energy and Infrastructure has transferred to the Iranian special services information about the location of the secret objects of the country's energy infrastructure.

Segev is an indicative figure for Israel, although somewhat farcical. And all this espionage story is extremely interesting for understanding how intelligence is "doing business" - and how entertaining individuals come across in this field of activity. By the way, energy is not the only thing that unites the "Segev case" with the "business of Karina Turcan" developing in Moscow. There are many other intersections, especially in the field of applied psychology.

Israeli intelligence experts use the phrase "the heavens did not collapse", since most of the information that Segev could convey to the Iranians, refers to the infrastructure of twenty years ago. Moreover, in his time as minister, Segev did not have access to the Atomic Energy Agency's dossier (a euphemism for the Israeli military nuclear program), unlike the current minister, Yuval Steinitz.

On the other hand, even the outdated Segev data contain information about the critical points of Israel's energy infrastructure. If it is "combined with Google maps," the Israelis explain intelligibly, the Iranians may well get an updated list of targets for missiles, sabotage and cyberattacks. But again it is emphasized that "Segev is not Aldrich Ames," so nothing particularly tragic happened.

On the contrary, there are successes of a tactical nature: "Iran's stolen nuclear file" and air attacks on Iranian military facilities in Syria. Optimists are trying even to make a failure with Segev to become a success. Like, if he tells the counterintelligence of Shinbet everything that the Iranians asked him about, it will be possible to understand how far Tehran has advanced in the matter of espionage.

The argument is so-so. Segev can lie, and even the Iranians themselves could wall up with three boxes. The biggest damage from the activity, apparently, is not in "Google-compatible espionage", but in personal characteristics that he could give the Iranians to the military and political figures of Israel. For example, he was friends with General Oren Shahor - now a popular politician and billionaire, who imports oil from Azerbaijan and constantly gets involved in public affairs such as the election of the mayor of Jerusalem. In the army, General Shahor was neither more nor less than the chief of staff (coordinator) of operations in the West Bank.

Gonen Segev could - and certainly did - tell the Iranians who of the Israelis could be successfully recruited - and who among those who are close to state secrets and security issues can be used "in the dark."

The best spy is the source that does not even suspect that it is being used. And this is a direct parallel with the "Turcan case".

In Israel, sadly joking that in Segev came together two distinctive features of a national character. First, he dreamed of making a lot of money, and quickly. Secondly, he is sincerely convinced that he can deceive the whole world around him due to his exceptional intellectual abilities and personal charm. In Israel, such - every second.

Segev really believed that he has a great charisma, which there is nothing to oppose to others, and they will fall into the traps of his phenomenal mind time after time. Working for the Iranian intelligence service, he believed that he would be able to drive her nose too.

He also has that character trait that applied psychologists call the "superego rupture". He does not have the brakes customary for most people, which forbid us to step over moral values ​​or laws for some purpose. Segev, on the way to his main goal - to get a huge profit and become famous - easily did it, because of what regularly received problems with the law. At the same time, the gap between his real intellectual abilities and conceit was so great that all his scams looked like amateurish fuss and almost childish, caricature fraud.

Well, who should be, to change the validity of a diplomatic passport with an ordinary ballpoint pen? Segev did not know that the border guards punched them by numbers (especially in Israel, where they were literally obsessed with external security)? Who should be, to cover up a "corrected" diplomatic passport, to try to bring to Israel from Amsterdam several thousand ecstasy tablets disguised as M & M's sweets? Why do you need thousands of candies in a suitcase from Amsterdam? Really eat?

And it's completely beyond the fact that the former Minister of Energy tried to hack an ATM in Hong Kong, and then justified by the fact that he allegedly stole a credit card.

There is a version that for the first time the attention of Segev was not to the Iranians, but to the Palestinians from Hezbollah. And it was not in 2012 year, when he left the prison where he sat behind M & M's and a Chinese ATM, moved to Nigeria, and at the end of the 90 - the beginning of "zero" when, after leaving the post of minister, he began to sell his scams in business. A young Palestinian, Israeli citizen and Hezbollah reconnaissance activist Kais Ubaida then selected a high-ranking Israeli candidate who could be kidnapped and then exchanged for members of Hezbollah who were in prison. This required that the Israeli be easy to recruit and kidnap, best of all - involved in some criminal activity.

Segev perfectly fit all psychophysical parameters. A former minister and public politician with a superego and a passionate desire to get rich, but without moral brakes. He was supposed to offer him a profitable deal with drugs, to lure him to one of the Gulf countries, where he could be captured and transported to Beirut.

At the last moment, something changed, and Ubaidy opted for another Israeli with similar characteristics - retired Colonel Elhanan Tennenbaum, who traded in helping to write off the duty on imported washing machines from Lebanon. With Tennenbaum everything went like clockwork. He was offered 200 thousand dollars for the Ecstasy lot, lured to Abu Dhabi, captured, brought to Beirut and then traded to Hezbollah members. Tennenbaum concluded a deal with the Israeli investigation, confessed to fraud and attempts to import drugs, but swore in court that he would not be any more, because he received a lesson for life.

But Segev did not receive this lesson. After leaving prison, he was shocked that the medical association did not begin to restore his doctoral license (by education the former energy minister was a doctor), so he became a "trusted doctor" already in Nigeria, and at the same time an employee of the Israeli embassy and a member of the local Jewish community. For this, an Israeli medical license was not required.

Segev was on excellent terms, received letters of commendation for his work and once saved the life of the embassy's security officer. He had a successful private practice, and he could return to Israel at any time, but refused and claimed that he would return home only after the restoration of the license with his head held high. All this time he was watched by Iranian intelligence, to which the Palestinians transferred Segev as a potential object for easy recruitment. Finally, in 2012, the Iranians made a successful recruiting approach.

Now Segev claims that he did not work for Iranian intelligence, but she worked for him, all so ingenious and charming. And he supposedly was going to get into the confidence in the Persians and get something important from them to pass this data to the Mossad and return to Israel as a hero. No one but himself believes in this.

When the term of Segev's stay in Nigeria expired, he tried to move to Equatorial Guinea, but he was not allowed to go there, having checked his criminal history on the computer. As a result, the Guineans deported the former minister to Israel, where he was arrested right at the airport.

The real extent of the damage that Segev inflicted on the security of his country, let the Israelis evaluate - in the history of their state there have already been similar cases, though not with ministers. Now Segev is charged with "helping the enemy in time of war," and with such an accusation one can not get out of prison altogether. For us, the absence of obstacles in people with the psychotype of Segev for a career in public politics is much more interesting. He became Minister of Energy in the coalition government of Yitzhak Rabin after the "distribution of roles," and earlier of this very energy knew only that if you press the switch, there will be light.

Yes, in public politics, narcissists and people with superego are enough, but there must be some obstacles on their way to power. Yes, the superego is not a diagnosis, they live with it, but the formal criteria for successful recruitment rightly put people with this type of personality in one of the first places.

Eugene Kroutikov
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