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The Unknown Intelligence Agency

I have discussed several of the prominent intelligence agencies from around the world in previous Intel Briefs, so I figured for this week I would talk about an agency that most people have never heard about. Mossad is the national intelligence agency for Israel, based in Tel Aviv. The major functions of Mossad is intelligence gathering, counter-terrorism, and covert operations for the country of Israel. Although it may seem like on the surface level that they operate similar to intelligence agencies, there is no written law or limits to their operations like other agencies around the world.

Mossad operatives escorting a prisoner

Mossad was created in 1949 by the Prime Minister of Israel as a central institution to coordinate and improve communication between the existing security agencies in Israel. Today it is the second largest intelligence agency in the world behind the CIA in the United States. Several prominent journalists describe Mossad as being a deep state since they operate with no boundaries and execute actions that would normally result in prosecution in other countries around the world. With the long existing tensions and violent conflict in the Middle East between Israel and Palestine, you could imagine Mossad has carried out several operations related to their opposition.

One of the Black September terrorists at the Munich Massacre

In 1972, a terrorist attack was carried out by a Palestinian militant group in Munich, Germany during the Summer Olympics. The Palestinian militant group, known as Black September, infiltrated the Olympic Village and killed Israeli Olympic athletes and took several hostage. As the German police ambushed the terrorists, the terrorists ended up killing all of the hostages. By the end of the "Munich Massacre" there would be 11 Israeli Olympic athletes dead. As a result of the terrorist attack, Mossad executed a covert operation codenamed "Operation Wrath of God".

Operation Wrath of God operation following the Munich Massacre

Shortly after the Munich Massacre, Israel retaliated by bombing several Palestinian bases in Syria and Lebanon. The Prime Minister of Israel then met with other government officials and determined that they needed to assassinate everyone involved with the Munich Massacre in a dramatic fashion to deter future attacks against Israel. One assassination committed by Mossad agents wasn't very covert at all. While one Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) member was returning from dinner in Rome, Mossad agents waited for him and shot him twelve times. Another assassination against PLO members by Mossad agents involved the use of an explosive planted under the PLO member's desk in his office. The Mossad agents called his phone and when he answered and confirmed his identity, they detonated the explosive mortally wounding him. Many of these assassinations committed by Mossad involved not only their target being killed, but also civilians including women and children. This is one of the main reasons Mossad has always been under heavy scrutiny for their methods.

Former Mossad spy, Eli Cohen

Mossad still maintains an extensive network of spies throughout many Arab nations. Perhaps the most famous spy working for Mossad was Eli Cohen. Cohen, an Egyptian-born Israeli spy, infiltrated the highest ranks of the Syrian Government between 1961 - 1965. He did this by posing as a Syrian businessman and successfully earned the trust of the military and government officials of Syria. During his time with the Syrian government, he transmitted several military secrets back to Israel. Despite being warned several times by the Israeli government, Cohen continued to transmit radio messages back to Israel too frequently and often at the same time of day. In 1965, Cohen was captured in the act by the Syrian government. He was interrogated, put on trial, and subsequently publicly executed.

Tanfoglio Mossad Pistol used by Mossad during some operations

Mossad is still operating at the highest level in the Middle East and other parts of the world. Israel continues to hide the specifics about their operational structure and methods. It makes sense that most people have never heard of their intelligence agency. All you see in popular culture is the CIA and KGB (FSB) when it comes to covert intelligence agencies. However, as the internet continues growing at a rapid rate more and more people will become aware of Mossad's methods.

The director of Mossad, will still be unknown.


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