An Israeli citizen who worked as a cleaner in the home of Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been arrested on charges of espionage following an investigation by the Shin Bet and other Israeli security organizations.
Several days before his arrest, Omri Goren (Gorochovsky), 37, offered information to an Iranian source, using his access to the home of Israel’s Defense Minister.
According to the indictment, Goren and his wife have worked in housekeeping for Gantz for a number of years. When Israeli media reported last month about the cyberattacks against Israeli targets carried out by the Iran-affiliated Black Shadow group, Goren decided to contact the group and offer information from Gantz’s home.
Goren found the email address of a Black Shadow representative on Telegram and made contact using a false identity, offering to transfer information for a sum of money. He even suggested that they provide him with malware to implant in Gantz’s personal computer.
In order to prove his seriousness, Goren photographed a number of items in Gantz’s home and sent the photos to the group’s Telegram representative, including a desk, computers, telephone, tablet, a box with IDF affiliation details and serial numbers, a package with a sticker on it with an IP address, a closed safe, a shredder, military souvenirs, photos of Gantz and his family, and an arnona bill.
Goren subsequently deleted all his correspondence with Telegram from his phone as well as the photos from Gantz’s home.
The Shin Bet said that the suspect was “not exposed to any classified material so none was passed by him to the elements with whom he made contact.” The investigation was carried out with Gantz’s knowledge.
Goren, a resident of Lod, has an extensive criminal record, including five convictions and 14 charges, including two bank robberies, burglary, theft, and breaking and entering, and has served four prison sentences.
His criminal background raises questions about how he passed a background check to work at a sensitive place of employment like the Defense Minister’s home. The Shin Bet stated that in light of the incident it will carry out an internal review of the procedures for background checks for workers in ministers’ homes.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)