Disturbing details about the alleged misconduct by a senior minister that led to a breach in his security were revealed Monday night by Channel 2 News.
According to a report by Amit Segal, Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov (Yisrael Beiteinu) has made it a habit to dodge his security detail in favor of mysterious nightly excursions; placing himself at risk.
The minister also allegedly spends considerable time in night clubs – sometimes strip clubs – and ends his nightly adventures drunk to the point of complete disorientation.
Segal claimed the report was based on the accounts of over five people, all part of the minister's security teams. He stressed that one source was even polygraphed on the matted and found to be telling the truth.
The report included the audio testimonies of several security sources – whose voices were distorted to protect their anonymity – saying that Misezhnikov often "parties until all hours of the night and at the end of some nights, the minister it too drunk to know where he is."
One source went on: "If it was just a drink here and there, that's fine, but we saw dozens of cases when he would stagger back, drunk on his feet, reeking of alcohol."
The source added that "Sometimes he would be so drunk he would lose his balance. Some security guards would prop him up, but others refused. They said it was inappropriate for a public official to behave this way."
According to Channel 2, Misezhnikov's unruly ways were the reason he was absent from the cabinet meeting in which the Shalit deal was ratified.
The tourism minister was the only minister to miss the crucial meeting, because at the time – according to the report – "He was at a restaurant in northern Israel getting drunk with his friends."
Drunk on his feet? Misezhnikov (Archives)
Misezhnikov, the report said, "Just decided not to show up to one of the government's most important meetings, despite numerous phone calls and despite the fact that the cabinet was in session until 2 am."
Other security sources were quoted as saying that the minister is often late to official meetings as a result of his nightly escapades.
Such tardiness has also been a source for embarrassment during Misezhnikov's official trips abroad.
Major security risk
Appearances aside, the minister's behavior creates a security breach which may place him in harm's way.
The minister often orders his security detail to stay at a considerable distance when he is in a club, and sometimes asks them to stay outside altogether.
"Some of these clubs are known hangouts for criminal elements. What if a brawl erupts? He could get hurt," a security guard told Segal.
Others in the security detail told Channel 2 that Misezhnikov often stays in a Jaffa apartment that is not his primary residence and as such lacks the extensive security measures installed in ministers' homes.
"The minister, for whatever reason, doesn’t want anyone to know that he's staying there, and the people in charge of the ministers' security go along with it," the report quoted a security source.
"As a security guard it's your job to prevent an attack on your minister, but you can't do that without some minimal conditions."
The report stressed that Misezhnikov's rowdy lifestyle has been the cause of high turnover in his personal security staff, including nine personal security officers in a span of weeks.
Misezhnikov's office gave Channel 2 the following statement: "These statements are nothing more than slander by disgruntled employees, who were involved in cases of conduct unbecoming, sometimes violent ones, were let go, and are now seeking vengeance by spreading lies."
The Tourism Ministry added: "The minister's security adheres to the same directives imposed on all government ministers and does not deviate from them in any way."
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