Who Knows Mossad


How many of us knows, the “great” secret service called Mossad. Not so much prominent but the most effective agency. Let’s search this Israeli covert force with excellent information provided by the Sixth edition of the N&O column Spooks newsletter Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 (Information here is the property of the author who originally provided this information)

Israeli intelligence agencies are/were very active on HF. Most of the RTTY stations however are gone now and have probably have moved to satellite. The voice numbers station (E10) is still there and is very active.

Although sources call them ‘Mossad stations’, it is not clear which agency/agencies is/are actually transmitting these messages. The two major candidates are Mossad and Shin Beth, but also the military Aman is a possibility. The RTTY stations were almost certain Mossad stations.


Official name

Ha-Mossad le-Modiin ule-Tafkidim Meyuhadim

Popular name



Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks

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Official name

Sherut ha-Bitachon ha-Klali

Popular name

Shin Bet


General Security Service

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Official name

Agaf ha-Modi’in

Popular name



Military Intelligence

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Official name

Leshkat Kesher Madao

Popular name



Bureau of Scientific Relations

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Center for Political Research


Mossad has responsibility for human intelligence collection, covert action, and counter terrorism. Its focus is on Arab nations and organizations throughout the world. Mossad also is responsible for the clandestine movement of Jewish refugees out of Syria, Iran and Ethiopia. Mossad agents are active in the former communist countries, in the West, and at the UN.

Mossad is headquartered in Tel Aviv. The staff of Mossad was estimated during the late 1980s to number between 1,500 to 2,000 personnel, with more recent estimates placing the staff at an estimated 1,200 personnel. The identity of the director of Mossad was traditionally a state secret, or at least not widely publicized, but in March 1996 the Government announced the appointment of Major General Danny Yatom as the replacement for Shabtai Shavit, who resigned in early 1996.

Formerly Popular name: the Central Institute for Coordination and the Central Institute for Intelligence and Security, Mossad was formed on 01 April 1951. Mossad was established by then Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, who gave as Mossad’s primary directive: “For our state which since its creation has been under siege by its enemies. Intelligence constitutes the first line of defence…we must learn well how to recognise what is going on around us.”

Mossad has a total of eight departments, though some details of the internal organization of the agency remain obscure.

Collections Department is the largest, with responsibility for espionage operations, with offices abroad under both diplomatic and unofficial cover. The department consists of a number of desks which are responsible for specific geographical regions, directing case officers based at “stations” around the world, and the agents they control.

Political Action and Liaison Department conducts political activities and liaison with friendly foreign intelligence services and with nations with which Israel does not have normal diplomatic relations. In larger stations, such as Paris, Mossad customarily had under embassy cover two regional controllers: one to serve the Collections Department and the other the Political Action and Liaison Department.

Special Operations Division, also Popular name: Metsada, conducts highly sensitive assassination, sabotage, paramilitary, and psychological warfare projects.

LAP (Lohamah Psichlogit) Department is responsible for psychological warfare, propaganda and deception operations.

Research Department is responsible for intelligence production, including daily situation reports, weekly summaries and detailed monthly reports. The Department is organized into 15 geographically specialized sections or “desks”, including the USA, Canada and Western Europe, Latin America, Former Soviet Union, China, Africa, the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), Libya, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran. A “nuclear” desk is focused on special weapons related issues.

Israel’s most celebrated spy, Eli Cohen, was recruited by Mossad during the 1960s to infiltrate the top echelons of the Syrian government. Cohen radioed information to Israel for two years before he was discovered and publicly hanged in Damascus Square. Another Mossad agent, Wolfgang Lotz, established himself in Cairo, became acquainted with high-ranking Egyptian military and police officers, and obtained information on missile sites and on German scientists working on the Egyptian rocket program. In 1962 and 1963, in a successful effort to intimidate the Germans, several key scientists in that program were targets of assassination attempts. Mossad also succeeded in seizing eight missile boats under construction for Israel in France, but which had been embargoed by French president Charles de Gaulle in December 1968.

In 1960, Mossad carried out one of its most celebrated operations, the kidnapping of Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann from Argentina. Another kidnapping, in 1986, brought to Israel for prosecution the nuclear technician, Mordechai Vanunu, who had revealed details of the Israeli nuclear weapons program to a London newspaper. During the 1970s, Mossad assassinated several Arabs connected with the Black September terrorist group. Mossad inflicted a severe blow on the PLO in April 1988, when an assassination team invaded a well-guarded residence in Tunis to murder Arafat’s deputy, Abu Jihad, considered to be the principal PLO planner of military and terrorist operations against Israel. Gerald Bull, a Canadian scientist who developed the famed “Super Gun” for Iraq was killed by the Mossad at his Brussels apartment in March ’90, effectively halting the development of the Supergun project.

Egyptian security services reported the discovery of a total of seven Israeli espionage networks during 1996, which is a significant increase compared to the 20 similar networks discovered in the previous 15 years.

And Mossad’s record has also been blemished by a few embarrasing failures. In Lillehammer Norway on 07 January 1974 Mossad agents mistakenly killed Ahmad Boushiki, an Algerian waiter carrying a Moroccan passport, who they mistook for PLO security head Ali Ahmad Salameh, believed to have masterminded the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics [Salameh was killed in a 1979 car-bomb explosion in Lebanon]. Following the attack, the Mossad agents were arrested and tried before a Norwegian court. Five Israeli agents were convicted and served short jail sentences, though Israel denied responsibility for the murder. In February 1996 the Israeli government agreed to compensate the family of Ahmad Boushiki.

On 15 November 1995, Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin was assassinated by Yigal Amir, an Israeli citizen. Following the controversy over the failure of intelligence to protect Rabin, and the embarrassment over the mistaken assassination of a Swedish national, the Director General of Mossad, known only as ‘S’, was forced into retirement. On 24 March 1996 Prime Minister Shimon Peres appointed Major General Danny Yatom as the new Director General of Mossad, the first Director of Mossad to ever be publically identified.

On 24 September 1997 Mossad operatives attempted to assassinate Khalid Meshaal, a top political leader of the Palestinian group Hamas. The assassins entered Jordan on fake Canadian, and injected Meshaal with a poison. Jordan was able to wring a numbar of concessions out of Israel in the aftermath of the fiasco, including the release of the founder of Hamas, Shaykh Ahmad Yasin, from an Israeli jail.

Shin Beth

Shin Bet, the Israeli counter-intelligence and internal security service, is believed to have three operational departments and five support departments.

Arab Affairs Dept is responsibile for antiterrorist operations, political subversion and maintenance of an index on Arab terrorists. Shin Bet detachments, Popular name: HENZA, worked with Aman under cover detachments [known as: Mista’arvim (Marauders)] to counter the uprising. This Department has also been active in countering the military wing of Hamas.

Non-Arab Affairs Department, formerly divided into communist and noncommunist sections, concerned itself with all other countries, including penetrating foreign intelligence services and diplomatic missions in Israel and interrogating immigrants from the Former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe.

Protective Security Dept is responsibile for protecting Israeli government buildings and embassies, defense industries, scientific installations, industrial plants, and the El Al national airline.

Shin Bet monitors the activities of and personalities in domestic rightwing fringe groups and subversive leftist movements. It is believed to have infiltrated agents into the ranks of the parties of the far left and had uncovered a number of foreign technicians spying for neighboring Arab countries or the Soviet Union. All foreigners, regardless of religion or nationality, are liable to come under surveillance through an extensive network of informants who regularly came into contact with visitors to Israel. Shin Bet’s network of agents and informers in the occupied territories destroyed the PLO’s effectiveness there after 1967, forcing the PLO to withdraw to bases in Jordan.

Shin Bet’s reputation as a highly proficient internal security agency was tarnished severely by two public scandals in the mid-1980s. In April 1984, Israeli troops stormed a bus hijacked by four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Although two of the hijackers survived, they were later beaten to death by Shin Bet agents. It appeared that the agents were acting under orders of Avraham Shalom, the head of Shin Bet. Shalom falsified evidence and instructed Shin Bet witnesses to lie to investigators to cover up Shin Bet’s role. In the ensuing controversy, the attorney general was removed from his post for refusing to abandon his investigation. The president granted pardons to Shalom, his deputies who had joined in the cover-up, and the agents implicated in the killings.

In 1987 Izat Nafsu, a former IDF army lieutenant and member of the Circassian minority, was released after his 1980 conviction for treason (espionage on behalf of Syria) was overturned by the Supreme Court. The court ruled that Shin Bet had used unethical interrogation methods to obtain Nafsu’s confession and that Shin Bet officers had presented false testimony to the military tribunal that had convicted him. A judicial commission set up to report on the methods and practices of Shin Bet found that for the previous seventeen years it had been the accepted norm for Shin Bet interrogators to lie to the courts about their interrogation.

Shin Bet’s reputation was further compromised by the assassinate of Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin in November 1995 by a right-wing Israeli extremist. In the aftermath of the ensuing scandal, the head of Shin Bet [Karmi Gillon] resigned in January 1996 and was succeeded by Rear Admiral Ami Ayalon.


Military intelligence, or Aman, produces comprehensive national intelligence estimates for the prime minister and cabinet, daily intelligence reports, risk of war estimates, target studies on nearby Arab countries, and communications intercepts. Aman also conducts across-border agent operations.

Aman is an independent service, co-equal with the army, navy and air force. Aman’s estimated staff of 7,000 personnel is currently led by Brigadier General Moshe Ya’alon. His immediate predecessor was Major General Yehoshua [Uri] Saguy.

Aman’s Foreign Relations Department is responsible for liaison with foreign intelligence services and the activities of Israeli military attaches abroad. The Sayeret Maktal General Staff Deep Reconnaissance Unit is Israel’s primary counter-terrorism and intelligence-gathering entity.

Small air force and naval intelligence units operatedas semi-autonomous branches of Aman. Air force intelligence primarily uses aerial reconnaissance and radio intercepts to collect information on strength levels of Arab air forces and for target compilation. In addition to reconnaissance aircraft, pilotless drones are used extensively to observe enemy installations. Naval intelligence collects data on Arab and Soviet naval activities in the Mediterranean and prepares coastal studies for naval gunfire missions and beach assaults.

A number of electronic intelligence collection and observation facilities are located on the Golan Heights, including a facility at Har Avital which monitors Syria, and another at Mount Hermon which monitors both Lebanon and Syria.

Aman was held responsible for the failure to obtain adequate warning of the Egyptian-Syrian attack that launched the October 1973 War. Many indications of the attack were received but faulty assessments at higher levels permitted major Arab gains before the IDF could mobilize and stabilize the situation.

During preparations for the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, Aman correctly assessed the weaknesses of the Christian militia on which Israel was depending and correctly predicted that a clash with the Syrian garrison in Lebanon was inevitable. The chief of intelligence, Major General Saguy, made these points to the general staff and privately to the prime minister. But, although he was present at cabinet meetings, he failed to make his doubts known to avoid differing openly with Begin and Sharon. Saguy was forced to retire after the Kahan Commission found that he had been delinquent in his duties regarding the massacres at the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps.


Until officially disbanded in 1986, the Bureau of Scientific Relations (Leshkat Kesher Madao–Lekem) collected scientific and technical intelligence abroad from both open and covert sources. Lekem was dismantled following the scandal aroused in the United States by the arrest of Jonathan Jay Pollard for espionage on behalf of Israel. Pollard, a US naval intelligence employee in Washington, received considerable sums for delivering vast quantities of classified documents to the scientific officers (Lekem agents) at the Israeli embassy. Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment. Although the Israeli government asserted that the operation was an unauthorized deviation from its policy of not conducting espionage against the United States, statements by the Israeli participants and by Pollard himself cast doubt on these claims.

Some sources assert that open and covert collection of scientific and technical information formerly conducted by Lekem is now conducted by a unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Center for Political Research

The Foreign Ministry formulates, implements and presents the foreign policy of the Government of Israel. It represents the state vis-a-vis foreign governments and international organizations, explains its positions and problems throughout the world, endeavours to promote its economic, cultural, and scientific relations, and fosters cooperation with developing countries. Israel currently maintains diplomatic relations with 160 countries. The Ministry promotes relations with Diaspora communities and safeguards the rights of Israeli citizens abroad.

The Center for Political Research, which has ten departments, monitors events, developments and political processes, mainly in the Middle East, including international involvement therein. The Center’s main tasks include gathering, analyzing and evaluating political information, as required by the Ministry; regular political briefings and guidance to Israel’s missions throughout the world; and assisting the political information network, in Israel and overseas, with its expertise in Middle East affairs

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