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AWOL Army Officer Back in USA

NEWARK, N.J. - A U.S. Army reserve officer from Texas who went AWOL from his unit and fled to Israel earlier this month, returned to the United States here on Tuesday.

LTC Jeremiah Mattysse was meet at Newark International Airport by two police officers from the Department of Defense and a representative of the U.S. Army Reserve Command in Atlanta. A source said Mattysse was being taken to Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Israeli police located Mattysse Monday at a youth hostel in the desert town of Mitzpe Ramon. He had left the
United States two weeks earlier after not showing up for duty at the Army Reserve Intelligence Support Center at Camp Bullis in San Antonio, Texas.

Army officials said they were "worried" about why the senior officer would flee the country and if he disclosed any "secret or confidential" information to Israeli authorities. The officials disclosed that Mattysse was under investigation after his wife told CID agents her husband was "having an affair."

An Israeli woman, Rivka Artzi-Nir, whom Mattysse claimed not to know, told reporters earlier this week that the American colonel was her "boyfriend" and that he had disclosed sensitive documents.

Mattysse declared his innocence saying "I am not a spy" as he left the police station in central Israel to take a flight back to the United States. "There's been many things said about me which are not true," he said. "I didn't give any classified information to anyone."

The San Antonio Express-News reported that Mattysse's wife Vanda had filed a divorce complaint March 7 in Virginia. No reason was disclosed for the divorce action being taken.


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