$31,000 for a Bucket of Lies

Whoever it was who first said “Every man has his price” was only putting into words what humanity has known since Eve negotiated with the serpent. Nonetheless, it is surprising how people will give up so much for so little. Here is one:

Shimon Levinson was born in Jerusalem in 1933 and enlisted in the Israel Defense Forces in 1950. He retired from the IDF in 1978 after having held a variety of positions: He was a member of the Israeli-Jordanian armistice committee, an army attache in Turkey and also served in Military Intelligence’s documentation center. Though he failed his officer exams several times, he was repeatedly promoted, eventually reaching the rank of colonel.


In April 1983, Levinson entered the Soviet embassy in Bangkok and offered to spy on Israel. During his interrogation by the Shin Bet, Levinson said his sole motive was money, and he had hoped his Soviet operators would reward him well. Only later did he learn the facts of life: It is hard to become a millionaire by spying. Over seven years, Levinson received only $31,000.

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