Thursday, February 25, 2010

Identification of agents by Dubai police embarrasses Mossad

Times Online

To have a dozen of your agents identified in police tapes after an extrajudicial killing is embarrassing. To have almost 30 operatives left with their covers blown — as appears to have happened after Dubai police released fresh details of the Hamas assassination last month — might be considered reckless.

On the official website of Mossad, Israel’s spy agency, is the biblical verse from Prophets, 11:14 — “where no counsel is, the people fall, but in the multitude of counsellors there is safety”.

Unfortunately, so many of its “counsellors” seem to have been caught on CCTV, wearing wigs and other disguises, that it was as if an early Purim carnival was being held in Dubai’s hotels and airports.

On top of the diplomatic fallout — Australia was the latest country to chastise Israel, the lead suspect in the murder of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh — is the growing question of how Mossad, the famously surgical scalpel of Israel’s covert defences, could have allowed so many of its people to blunder into full view of security cameras and have their faces flashed around the world in weekly instalments presented by Dubai’s police chief.

The scale of the revelations is leading some experts here to question the motives and/or competence of Dubai’s police chief, Lieutenant-General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, who has released the falsified travel documents of 26 suspects, 12 of them British.

“There is no doubt that more than a little of the information that he is disclosing or leaking to the media is part of a ploy in which bits of disinformation are planted,” said security commentator Yossi Melman in the daily newspaper Haaretz.

“He’s throwing out a lure in the hope that someone in Israel will swallow the bait and respond by incriminating himself or disclosing confidential information.”

Others have expressed concern that Mossad — whose director, Meir Dagan, has even been called upon to resign by some critics — should be concentrating more on gathering intelligence on Iran’s nuclear programme, recalling how it went on a spree of revenge killings after the Munich Olympics massacre in 1972 and missed the signs of a looming attack by Arab armies a year later.

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