One of the large mental health hospitals in Israel was recently surprised to receive a young, good-looking patient in a psychotic state who was accompanied by a personal security guard, Yedioth Ahronoth reported on Sunday.
The doctors, who asked why the woman was accompanied by a guard, were shocked to learn that she was a Mossad agent and that the security guard was not assigned to her in order assure her safety or protect her life, but to ensure that she not reveal any state secrets in her shaky mental state.
The Mossad guard's orders were clear: "It is forbidden that the organization's secrets be passed on to those unauthorized to hear them." The doctors, who are unaccustomed to the presence of a third party during their treatment sessions, were left with no choice but to acquiesce to their demands. In addition, the staff had to receive a security clearance before being allowed to work on her exceptional case.
To their complete amazement, another young woman, also accompanied by a secret agent charged with ensuring that the she not leak any state secrets, arrived at the institution just a short time later. The doctors learned that she, too, is a Mossad agent.
Experts said Saturday that the nature of the young women's work was most likely the cause of their psychosis.
Secrecy is key in the Israeli intelligence service. The work methods of agents is also left a mysterious for most of the public. The Mossad glossary explicitly states that agents are "handled with secret methods."
"Working under heavy mental pressures and exposure to real threats to one's life while maintaining daily concern that one's true identity will be revealed is likely to exact a mental price that could be manifested in a range of psychotic disorders," said Saturday psychiatrist, Dr. Dorit Yudeshkin-Porat, head of the trauma unit at Brull Community Mental Health Center in Tel Aviv.
She added, "Among people with pre-existing genetic predispositions, this type of work could even lead to the development of psychotic states. It is safe to assume that working in the Mossad places the agent under intense daily pressures."
"Perhaps it is connected to their work," said a source Saturday who is familiar with the cases. "Statistically, it could also be a coincidence. If one in a hundred Mossad agents suffers from a psychotic episode, this is no different than the rate of such episodes within the general public."
The Prime Minister's Office reported in the name of the Mossad, "We do not provide details on the office's activities."