A former agent with the Shin Bet, Israel's version of the FBI, confirmed the accuracy of the events told in the bestselling thriller Son of Hamas.
"Captain Loai," now publicly known only as "G," defended the account of events provided by Mosab Hassan Yousef in his book about his years working as a secret agent for Israel. Yousef is the eldest son of one of the founders of the terrorist group Hamas.
"I read Mosab's book and also the Haaretz Magazine article, and I tell you: He did exaggerate," said G, who supervised Yousef when he worked with Shin Bet, in an interview with Haaretz last week. "He exaggerated in being sparing in his descriptions of how many things he prevented and how many people he saved."
G criticized Shin Bet leaders who have publicly downplayed Yousef's importance to the Israeli security agency. After the book's release, a former deputy head of the Shin Bet publicly accused Yousef of exaggerating.
"My connection with Mosab does not derive from guilt feelings, but from a sense of responsibility: We must not throw him to the dogs," G said, referring to his ongoing friendship with Mosab. "These agents must not be used like lemons – squeezed out and then thrown away."
A few months ago, Yousef released his book, Son of Hamas, in the United States. Because of its shocking revelations – the son of Hamas' founder worked for Israel and has converted to Christianity – the story was picked up by major mainstream media including CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal, BBC, and Fox News, among others.
The media, in large part, did not cover the religious aspect of Yousef's account. But the book discusses in-depth Yousef's spiritual journey from being the son of a devout Muslim leader to a follower of Jesus who is willing to give up his family and life for his new faith.
"[T]hrough my experience, God has changed my life and after obeying His commands I ended up instead of hating my enemies and trying to kill them, they became my friends," said Yousef in a teleconference with Christian journalists in March. "And I won over my enemies; we worked together to stop violence and to stop the killing."
In the book, Yousef talks extensively about "Captain Loai," who he befriended while working for the Shin Bet. They lost contact for a few years after Yousef fled to the United States. But they reconnected with the help of Haaretz Magazine, who interviewed Yousef a few years ago about his conversion to Christianity.
"I feel obligated to help a friend, and today Mosab is no longer an 'agent' or a 'source,' he's a friend," said G to Haaretz. "If he could come to Israel – and I know he can't – he would be like a member of my family."
G was dismissed by the Shin Bet four years ago over a disputed financial transaction. G said that Yousef was the only one who defended him, which strengthened their bond and trust even further.
The interview with Haaretz, Israel's oldest newspaper, was conducted by phone last week while G visited Yousef at his home in California.