By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of the

"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.

By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of the

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:18 am

By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of the Mossad
by Victor J. Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy © 1990 by Victor J. Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy
Postscript to the Paperback Edition © 1991 by Victor J. Ostrovsky and Claire Hoy

NOTICE: THIS WORK MAY BE PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT

YOU ARE REQUIRED TO READ THE COPYRIGHT NOTICE AT THIS LINK BEFORE YOU READ THE FOLLOWING WORK, THAT IS AVAILABLE SOLELY FOR PRIVATE STUDY, SCHOLARSHIP OR RESEARCH PURSUANT TO 17 U.S.C. SECTION 107 AND 108. IN THE EVENT THAT THE LIBRARY DETERMINES THAT UNLAWFUL COPYING OF THIS WORK HAS OCCURRED, THE LIBRARY HAS THE RIGHT TO BLOCK THE I.P. ADDRESS AT WHICH THE UNLAWFUL COPYING APPEARED TO HAVE OCCURRED. THANK YOU FOR RESPECTING THE RIGHTS OF COPYRIGHT OWNERS.


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To all those who gave their lives willingly, though they should have been spared. -- V.O.

To Lydia: My own secret inspiration -- C.H.


Table of Contents:

• Front Cover
• Authors' Foreword
• Prologue: Operation Sphinx
• Part 1: Cadet
o Chapter 1: Recruitment
o Chapter 2: School Days
o Chapter 3: Freshmen
o Chapter 4: Sophomores
o Chapter 5: Rookies
• Part II: Inside and Out
o Chapter 6: The Belgian Table
o Chapter 7: Hairpiece
o Chapter 8: Hail and Farewell
• Part III: By Way of Deception
o Chapter 9: Strella
o Chapter 10: Carlos
o Chapter 11: Exocet
o Chapter 12: Checkmate
o Chapter 13: Helping Arafat
o Chapter 14: Only in America
o Chapter 15: Operation Moses
o Chapter 16: Harbor Insurance
o Chapter 17: Beirut
• Epilogue
• Postscript to the Paperback Edition
• Court Documents
• Appendices
• Glossary of Terms
• Index
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

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BY WAY OF DECEPTION

The first time the Mossad came calling, they wanted Victor Ostrovsky for their assassination unit, the kidon. He turned them down. The next time, he agreed to enter the grueling three-year training program to become a katsa, or intelligence case officer, for the legendary Israeli spy organization.

By Way of Deception is the explosive chronicle of his experiences in the Mossad, and of two decades of their frightening and often ruthless covert activities around the world. Penetrating far deeper than the bestselling Every Spy a Prince, it is an insider's account of Mossad tactics and exploits.

In chilling detail, Ostrovsky asserts that the Mossad refused to share critical knowledge of a planned suicide mission in Beirut, leading to the death of hundreds of U.S. Marines and French troops. He tells how they tracked Yasser Arafat by recruiting his driver and bodyguard; how they withheld information on the whereabouts of American hostages, paving the way for the Iran-Contra scandal; and how their intervention into secret UN negotiations led to the sudden resignation of ambassador Andrew Young and the downfall of his career.

By Way of Deception describes the shocking scope and depth of the Mossad's influence, disclosing how Jewish communities in the U.S., Europe, and South America are armed and trained by the organization in secret "self-defense" units, and how Mossad agents facilitate the drug trade in order to pay the enormous costs of its far-flung, clandestine operation. And it portrays a network that has grown dangerously out of control, as internal squabbles have led to the escape of terrorists and the pursuit of "policies" completely at odds with the interests of the state of Israel.

This document is possibly the most important and controversial book of its kind since Spycatcher.

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VICTOR OSTROVSKY was born in Canada of an Israeli mother and a Canadian Jewish father, but was raised in Israel. He became, at age 18, the youngest officer in the Israeli military. A weapons-testing expert, he was recruited by the Mossad and completed their extensive training program, becoming a katsa, or case officer, only to grow disillusioned with the organization's aims and operations. He is no longer a member of the Mossad.

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CLAIRE HOY is one of Canada's leading writers, and the author of four books, including the 1987 bestseller Friends in High Places, an expose of political patronage in the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Back Cover:

I was elated when I was chosen and granted the privilege to join what I considered to be the elite team of the Mossad.

But it was the twisted ideals and self-centered pragmatism that I encountered inside the Mossad, coupled with this so-called team's greed, lust, and total lack of respect for human life, that motivated me to tell this story.

It is out of love of Israel as a free and just country that I am laying my life on the line by so doing, facing up to those who took it upon themselves to turn the Zionist dream into the present-day nightmare.

VICTOR OSTROVSKY
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

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THE MOSSAD

Its full name: Ha Mossad, le Modiyn ve le Tafkidim Mayuhadim, or Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. Its motto: "By way of deception, thou shalt do war."

"[The Mossad] doesn't officially exist in Israel, yet everyone knows about it. It's the epitome, the top of the heap. You realize it's a very secretive organization, and once you're called in, you do what you are told because you believe that behind it is a form of super magic that will be explained to you in due course."

"So much of our training was based on forming relationships with innocent people. It built a strange sense of confidence. Suddenly everyone in the street became a tool. You'd think, hey, I can push their buttons. Suddenly it was all about telling lies; telling the truth became irrelevant ..."

"Iraq always insisted [its] nuclear research center was designed for peaceful purposes ... at a news conference in Baghdad, Saddam Hussein mocked Israeli concerns ... But even the French became wary of Iraq's intentions when that country flatly refused their offer to substitute the enriched uranium with a less potent form of fuel ..."

"[When I wrote this book] I was not unaware of what the 'whistle-blower' is usually subjected to, and I won't pretend it doesn't hurt. But it will be worth it if my book prompts a self-examination in Israel that ... leaves it a stronger, healthier nation that all can be prouder of."

Authors' Foreword

Revealing the facts as I know them from my vantage point of four years spent inside the Mossad was by no means an easy task.

Coming from an ardent Zionist background, I had been taught that the state of Israel was incapable of misconduct. That we were the David in the unending struggle against the ever-growing Goliath. That there was no one out there to protect us but ourselves -- a feeling reinforced by the Holocaust survivors who lived among us.

We, the new generation of Israelites, the resurrected nation on its own land after more than two thousand years of exile, were entrusted with the fate of the nation as a whole.

The commanders of our army were called champions, not generals. Our leaders were captains at the helm of a great ship.

I was elated when I was chosen and granted the privilege to join what I considered to be the elite team of the Mossad.

But it was the twisted ideals and self-centered pragmatism that I encountered inside the Mossad, coupled with this so-called team's greed, lust, and total lack of respect for human life, that motivated me to tell this story.

It is out of love for Israel as a free and just country that I am laying my life on the line by so doing, facing up to those who took it upon themselves to turn the Zionist dream into the present-day nightmare.

The Mossad, being the intelligence body entrusted with the responsibility of plotting the course for the leaders at the helm of the nation, has betrayed that trust. Plotting on its own behalf, and for petty, self-serving reasons, it has set the nation on a collision course with all-out war.

I cannot be silent any longer, nor can I risk the credibility of this book by hiding reality behind false names and obscured identities (though I have used initials for the last names of some active field personnel, to protect their lives).

Iacta alea est: The die is cast.

VICTOR OSTROVSKY, July 1990

***

In more than 25 years of journalism, I have learned that you should never say no to anyone who offers you a story, no matter how bizarre the offer sounds. Victor Ostrovsky's story sounded more bizarre than most, in the beginning.

Like most journalists, I've sat through my share of listening to people breathlessly explain why their story has been suppressed through the evil work of the Intergalactic Martian Conspiracy. On the other hand, all journalists have experienced the high of responding to a tip, only to find that the story it leads to is a dandy.

One afternoon in April 1988, I was at my usual spot in the parliamentary press gallery in Ottawa when Victor Ostrovsky phoned to say he had a story to tell me that was international in nature and might interest me. I had recently published a controversial bestseller entitled Friends in High Places, on the troubles of the current Canadian prime minister and his government. Victor told me he liked my approach to officialdom; that was why he had decided to offer me his story. He gave no details, but suggested meeting in a nearby coffee shop for 15 minutes so I could hear him out. Three hours later, Victor still had my attention. He did indeed have an interesting story to tell.

My first private concern, inevitably, was how do I know this man is what he says he is? Well, some private inquiries through contacts, coupled with his willingness to name names and be open himself, made it much easier over time to conclude that he is the genuine article: a former Mossad katsa.

Many people will not be happy with what they read in this book. It is a disturbing story, hardly a chronicle of the best that human nature has to offer. Many will see Victor as a traitor to Israel. So be it. But I see him as a man who has a deep conviction that the Mossad is a good organization gone sour; a man whose idealism was shattered by a relentless onslaught of realism; a man who believes the Mossad -- or, for that matter, any government organization -- needs to be publicly accountable for its actions. Even the CIA has to explain itself to an elected body. The Mossad does not.

On September 1, 1951, then prime minister David Ben-Gurion issued a directive that the Mossad be created as an intelligence organization independent of Israel's ministry of foreign affairs. To this day, although everyone knows it exists -- politicians at times even boast of its successes -- the Mossad remains a shadow organization in every respect. You will find no reference to it in Israeli budgets, for example. And the name of its head, while he holds that position, is never made public.

One of the main themes of this book is Victor's belief that the Mossad is out of control, that even the prime minister, although ostensibly in charge, has no real authority over its actions and is often manipulated by it into approving or taking actions that may be in the best interest of those running the Mossad, but not necessarily in the best interests of Israel.

While the nature of the intelligence business, by definition, involves considerable secrecy, certain elements of it are nevertheless open in other democratic countries. In the United States, for instance, the director and deputy directors of the CIA are first nominated by the president, subjected to public hearings by the Senate select committee on intelligence, and finally must be confirmed by a majority in the Senate.

On February 28, 1989, for example, the committee under Chairman David L. Boren met in room SH-216, Hart Senate Office Building, in Washington, to question veteran CIA official, Richard J. Kerr, on his nomination as deputy director of Central Intelligence. Even before undergoing the public hearings, Kerr had to complete an exhaustive, 45-part questionnaire, airing everything from his biographical, academic, and employment experiences, to his finances, including what land he owned, his salary during the past five years, and the size of his mortgage, along with questions on organizations he belonged to and his general philosophy of life and intelligence.

Opening the hearing, Senator Boren acknowledged that it was a rare occasion for the committee to conduct its business in public. "While some other nations provide for legislative branch oversight of their intelligence activities, the extensive nature of the process in our country is truly unique."

Among other things, the committee conducts quarterly reviews of all presidentially mandated covert-action programs and holds special hearings whenever the president initiates a new covert action.

"While we have no power to veto proposed covert actions," he continued, "presidents have in the past heeded our advice by taking actions either to modify or cancel activities which the committee believed to be ill-conceived or which we believed posed unnecessary risks for the security interests."

In Israel, even the prime minister, although supposedly in charge of intelligence, often doesn't know about covert activities until after they've occurred. As for the public, they rarely know about them at all. And there certainly is no committee scrutiny of Mossad activities and personnel.

The importance of appropriate political guardianship of intelligence was summed up by Sir William Stephenson in the foreword to A Man Called Intrepid, in which he said that intelligence is a necessary condition for democracies to avoid disaster and possibly total destruction.

"Among the increasingly intricate arsenals across the world, intelligence is an essential weapon, perhaps the most important," he wrote. "But it is, being secret, the most dangerous. Safeguards to prevent its abuse must be devised, revised, and rigidly applied. But, as in all enterprise, the character and wisdom of those to whom it is entrusted will be decisive. In the integrity of that guardianship lies the hope of free people to endure and prevail."

Another legitimate question about Victor's story is how a relatively minor functionary in the institute, as the Mossad is called, could possibly know so much about it. That's a fair question. The answer is surprisingly easy.

First of all, as an organization, the Mossad is tiny.

In his book Games of Intelligence, Nigel West (pseudonym of British Tory MP Rupert Allason) writes that CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, which is actually signposted from the George Washington Parkway, outside Washington, DC, has about 25,000 employees, "the overwhelming majority [of whom] make no effort to conceal the nature of their work."

The entire Mossad has barely 1,200 employees, including secretaries and cleaning staff -- all of whom are instructed to tell those who ask that they work for the defense department.

West also writes that "evidence accumulated from Soviet defectors indicated that the KGB's First Chief Directorate employed some 15,000 officers" around the world, about "3,000 based at its headquarters at Teplyystan, just outside Moscow's ring road, to the southwest of the capital." That was in the 1950s. More recent figures cite the KGB's total total number of employees worldwide at more than 250,000 employees. Even the Cuban DGI Intelligence service has some 2,000 trained operatives posted across the world in Cuban diplomatic missions.

The Mossad -- believe it or not -- has just 30 to 35 case officers, or katsas, operating in the world at any one time. The main reason for this extraordinarily low total, as you will read in this book, is that unlike other countries, Israel can tap the significant and loyal cadre of the worldwide Jewish community outside Israel. This is done through a unique system of sayanim, volunteer Jewish helpers.

Victor kept a diary of his own experiences and of many related by others. He is a rotten speller, but possesses a photographic memory for charts, plans, and other visual data so crucial to the successful operation of intelligence. And because the Mossad is such a small, tightknit organization, he had access to classified computer files and oral histories, counterparts of which would be unobtainable by a junior player in the CIA or KGB. Even as students, he and his classmates had access to the Mossad main computer, and countless hours were spent in class studying in minute detail, over and over again, dozens of actual Mossad operations -- the goal being to teach the new recruits how to approach an operation and how to avoid past mistakes.

In addition, while it may be difficult to quantify, the unique historical cohesiveness of the Jewish community, their conviction that regardless of political differences they must all pull together to protect themselves from their enemies, leads to an openness among themselves that would not be found among employees of, say, the CIA or KGB. In short, among themselves, they feel free to talk in great detail. And they do.

I want to thank Victor, of course, for giving me the chance to bring this remarkable story to light. I also want to thank my wife, Lydia, for her constant support in this project, particularly since the nature of this story continues to impose more pressure than my standard political fare.

In addition, the Parliamentary Library in Ottawa was as helpful as always.

CLAIRE HOY, July 1990
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Prologue: Operation Sphinx

BUTRUS EBEN HALIM could be forgiven for noticing the woman. After all, she was a sultry blonde, given to wearing tight pants and low-cut blouses, revealing just enough of herself to pique any man's desire for more.

She'd been showing up at his regular bus stop in Villejuif on the southern outskirts of Paris every day for the past week. With just two buses using that stop -- one local and one RATP into Paris -- and usually only a few other regular passengers standing around, it was impossible to miss her. Although Halim didn't know it, that was the point.

It was August 1978. Her routine, like his, seemed constant. She was there when Halim arrived to catch his bus. Moments later, a light-skinned, blue-eyed, sharply dressed man would race up in a red Ferrari BB512 two-seater, pull in to pick up the blonde, then speed off to heaven knew where.

Halim, an Iraqi, whose wife, Samira, could no longer stand either him or their dreary life in Paris, would spend much of his lonely trip to work thinking about the woman. He certainly had the time. Halim was not inclined to speak to anyone along the way, and Iraqi security had instructed him to take a circular route to work, changing it frequently. His only constants were the bus stop near his home in Villejuif and Gare Saint-Lazare Metro station. There, Halim caught the train to Sarcelles, just north of the city, where he worked on a top- secret project that involved building a nuclear reactor for Iraq.

One day, the second bus arrived before the Ferrari. The woman first glanced down the street searching for the car, then shrugged and boarded the bus. Halim's bus had been temporarily delayed by a minor "accident" two blocks away when a Peugeot pulled out in front of it.

Moments later, the Ferrari arrived. The driver looked around for the girl, and Halim, realizing what had happened, shouted to him in French that she had taken the bus. The man, looking perplexed, replied in English, at which point Halim repeated the story for him in English.

Grateful, the man asked Halim where he was headed. Halim told him the Madeleine station, within walking distance of Saint-Lazare, and the driver, Ran S. -- whom Halim would know only as Englishman Jack Donovan -- said he, too, was headed that way, and offered him a lift.

Why not, Halim thought, hopping into the car and settling in for the drive.

The fish had swallowed the hook. And as luck would have it, it would prove to be a prize catch for the Mossad.

***

Operation Sphinx ended spectacularly on June 7, 1981, when U.S.-made Israeli fighter- bombers destroyed the Iraqi nuclear complex Tamuze 17 (or Osirak) at Tuwaitha, just outside Baghdad, in a daring raid over hostile territory. But that came only after years of international intrigue, diplomacy, sabotage, and assassinations orchestrated by the Mossad had delayed construction of the plant, though ultimately failing to stop it.

Israeli concern for the project had been high ever since France had signed an agreement to provide Iraq, then its second-largest oil supplier, with a nuclear research center in the wake of the 1973 energy crisis. The crisis had escalated interest in nuclear power as an alternative energy source, and countries that manufactured systems were drastically stepping up their international sales operations. At the time, France wanted to sell Iraq a 710-megawatt commercial nuclear reactor.

Iraq always insisted the nuclear research center was designed for peaceful purposes, basically to provide energy for Baghdad. Israel, with considerable cause, feared it would be used to manufacture nuclear bombs for use against her.

The French had agreed to supply 93-percent-enriched uranium for two reactors provided by its military enrichment plant at Pierrelatte. France agreed to sell Iraq four charges of fuel: a total of 150 pounds of enriched uranium, enough to make about four nuclear weapons. Then U.S. president, Jimmy Carter, had made opposition to nuclear proliferation his main foreign policy effort, and U.S. diplomats were actively lobbying both the French and the Iraqis to change their plans.

Even the French became wary of Iraq's intentions when that country flatly refused their offer to substitute the enriched uranium with another less potent form of fuel called "caramel," a substance that can produce nuclear energy, but not nuclear bombs.

Iraq was adamant. A deal was a deal. At a July 1980 news conference in Baghdad, Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein mocked Israeli concerns, saying that years earlier, "Zionist circles in Europe derided the Arabs who, they said, were an uncivilized and backward people, good only for riding camels in the desert. See how today these same circles say without batting an eyelid that Iraq is on the point of producing an atomic bomb."

The fact that Iraq was fast approaching that point in the late 1970s prompted AMAN, Israel's military intelligence unit, to send a memo (labeled "black" for top secret) to Tsvy Zamir, the tall, slender, balding ex-army general who was then the Mossad head. AMAN wanted more precise inside information on the stages of development of the Iraqi project, so David Biran, head of Tsomet, Mossad's recruiting department, was summoned to meet with Zamir. Biran, a chubby, round-faced career Mossad man, and a noted dandy, subsequently met his department heads and ordered them to find an immediate Iraqi tie-in to the manufacturing plant at Sarcelles, France.

An exhaustive two-day search of personnel files came up empty, so Biran called the head of the Paris station, David Arbel, a white-haired multilingual career Mossad officer, giving him the necessary details for the assignment. Like all such stations, the one in Paris is located in the heavily reinforced underground of the Israeli embassy. Arbel, as head of the station, outranked even the ambassador. Mossad personnel control the diplomatic pouch (the "dip"), and all mail in and out of the embassies goes through them. They are also in charge of maintaining safe houses, known as "operational apartments"; the London station alone, for example, owns more than 100 such flats and rents another 50.

Paris also had its share of sayanim, Jewish volunteer helpers from all walks of life, and one of them, code-named Jacques Marcel, worked in personnel at the Sarcelles nuclear plant. Had the project been less urgent, he would not have been asked to procure an actual document. Normally, he would pass along information verbally, or even copy it onto paper. Taking a document involves the risk of getting caught and puts the sayan in danger. But in this case, they decided they needed the actual document, primarily because Arabic names are often confusing (they frequently use different names, in different situations). And so, to be certain, Marcel was asked for the list of all Iraqi personnel working there.

Since he was scheduled to come into Paris for a meeting the next week anyway, Marcel was instructed to put the personnel list in the trunk of his car along with others he was legitimately bringing to the meeting. The night before, a Mossad katsa (gathering officer) met him, got a duplicate trunk key, and gave the man his instructions. Marcel was to make one round of a side street near the Ecole Militaire at the appointed time: there he would see a red Peugeot with a particular sticker on the back window. The car would have been rented and left all night in front of a cafe to guarantee a parking spot, always a prime commodity in Paris. Marcel was told to circle the block, and when he came back, the Peugeot would be pulling out, allowing him to take that parking spot. Then he was simply told to go off to his meeting, leaving the personnel file in the trunk.

Because employees in sensitive industries are subjected to random security checks, Marcel was tailed by the Mossad, without his knowledge, on the way to his rendezvous. After again making sure there was no surveillance, a two-man Mossad squad took the file from the trunk and walked into the cafe. While one man ordered, the other walked into the washroom. There he produced a camera with an attached set of four small, aluminum fold- back legs, called a "damper." This device saves setup time, since it is already in focus and uses special snap-on cartridges manufactured by the Mossad photography department that take up to 500 exposures on a single roll of film. Once the legs are shoved down, the photographer can slide the documents quickly in and out underneath it, using a rubber attachment held between his teeth to click the shutter each time. After photographing the three pages in this way, the men put the file back in Marcel's trunk and left.

The names were immediately sent by computer to the Paris desk in Tel Aviv, using the standard Mossad double coding system. Each phonetic sound has a number. If the name is Abdul, for example, then "Ab" might be assigned number seven and "dul" 21. To further complicate matters, each number has a regular code -- a letter or another number -- and this "sleeve" coding is changed once a week. Even then, each message tells only half the story, so that one would contain the code of the code for "Ab," while another the code of the code for "dul." Even if this transmission was intercepted, it would mean nothing to the person trying to decode it. In this way, the entire personnel list was sent to headquarters in two separate computer transmissions.

As soon as the names and positions were decoded in Tel Aviv, they were sent to the Mossad research department and to AMAN, but again, because the Iraqi personnel at Sarcelles were scientists, not previously regarded as threatening, the Mossad had little on file about them.

Word came back from the Tsomet chief to "hit it at convenience" -- that is, find the easiest target. And quickly. Which is how they chanced upon Butrus Eben Halim. It would prove to be a lucky strike, but at the time, he was chosen because he was the only Iraqi scientist who had given a home address. That meant the others were either more security-minded, or lived at military quarters near the plant. Halim was also married -- only half of them were -- but had no children. For a 42-year-old Iraqi to have no children was unusual, not the mark of a normal, happy marriage.

Now that they had their target, the next problem was how to "recruit" him, particularly since word from Tel Aviv was that this was considered an ain efes, or "no miss" operation, a strong term in Hebrew.

To complete this task, two teams were called in.

The first, yarid, a team in charge of European security, would figure out Halim's schedule and that of his wife, Samira, see if he was under Iraqi or French surveillance, and arrange for a nearby apartment through a "real estate" sayan (one of the Paris sayanim in real estate and trusted to find an apartment in the requested neighborhood, no questions asked).

The second, neviot, was the team that would do any necesary break-ins, casing the target's apartment and installing listening devices -- a "wood" if it had to be fitted into a table or baseboard, for example; a "glass" if it involved a telephone.

The yarid branch of the security department consists of three teams of seven to nine people each, with two teams working abroad and one backup in Israel. Calling in one of the teams for an operation usually involves considerable haggling, since everyone regards their particular operation as vital.

The neviot branch also consists of three teams of experts trained in the art of obtaining information from still objects, which means breaking in, or photographing such things as documents, entering and leaving rooms and buildings to install surveillance equipment without leaving a trace or coming into contact with anyone. Among their collection of implements, these teams have master keys for most of the major hotels in Europe and are constantly devising new methods of opening doors equipped with locks opened by card keys, code keys, and various other means. Some hotels, for example, even have locks that open using the thumbprint of the room guest.

Once the listening devices, or "bugs," were placed and operational in Halim's apartment, a Shicklut (listening department) employee would listen and record the conversation. The tape from the first day would be sent back to Tel Aviv headquarters, where the particular dialect would be determined and a marats, or listener, who best understood that dialect would be sent in from Israel as soon as possible to continue the electronic surveillance and provide immediate translations for the Paris station.

At this point in the operation, all they had was a name and an address. They did not even have a photo of the Iraqi and certainly no guarantee that he would be useful. The yarid team began by watching his apartment building from the street and spying from the nearby apartment to see just what Halim and his wife looked like.

The first actual contact was made two days later, when a young, attractive woman with short-cropped hair, introducing herself as Jacqueline, knocked on Halim's door. This was Dina, a yarid worker, whose job was simply to get a good look at the wife and identify her to the team so that surveillance could begin in earnest. Dina's cover was selling perfume, which she'd obtained in large quantities. Complete with an attache case and printed order forms, Dina had gone from door to door offering her wares at all the other apartments in the three-story walk-up to avoid suspicion. She had made sure to arrive at Halim's apartment before he got home from work.

Samira was thrilled with the perfume offer. So were most of the women in the building. And no wonder, since the prices were much lower than in the retail stores. Customers were asked to pay half up front and the other half on delivery, with the promise of a "free gift" when the order was delivered.

Better still, Samira invited "Jacqueline" in and poured her heart out to her about how unhappy she was, how her husband had no drive to succeed, how she had come from an affluent family and was tired of having to use her own money to live on, and -- bingo -- how she was going home to Iraq in two weeks because her mother was having major surgery. This would leave her husband alone and even more vulnerable.

"Jacqueline," posing as a student from a good family in southern France and selling perfume to earn extra spending money, was extremely sympathetic to Samira's plight. Although her initial task was simply to identify the woman, this particular success was indisputable. In surveillance, each minute detail is reported after each stage back to the safe house, where the team digests the information and plans the next step. This usually means hours of interrogation, of going over and over each detail, tempers often rising as various people debate the significance of a particular action or phrase. Team members chain-smoke and main-line coffee, and the atmosphere inside a safe house grows more tense as each hour passes.

And so it was decided that since Dina (Jacqueline) had struck a chord with Samira, this happy turn of events could be used to expedite matters. Her next task would be to get the woman out of the apartment twice -- once so that the team could determine the best place for a listening device, the second time to install it. That meant coming in and taking photos, measurements, paint chips, everything needed to guarantee that an exact replica of an item could be produced, but with a bug implanted in it. Like all things the Mossad does, the criterion is always to minimize risk.

During the original visit, Samira had complained about her problems with finding a good local hairdresser to do something about the color of her hair. When Jacqueline returned with the merchandise two days later (this time shortly before Halim was due home, so that she could see what he looked like) she told Samira about her own fashionable Left Bank hairdresser.

"I told Andre about you, and he said he'd love to work on your hair," said Jacqueline. "It will take a couple of visits. He's so particular. But I'd love to take you along with me."

Samira jumped at the chance. She and her husband had no real friends in the area, little social life, and the opportunity for a couple of afternoons in town, away from the endless drudgery of her apartment, was welcome.

As Samira's special gift for buying perfume, Jacqueline brought a fancy keyholder, complete with a little tab for each key. "Here," she said. "Give me your apartment key, and I'll show you how this works."

What Samira didn't see when she handed over the key was Jacqueline's slipping it into a hinged, two-inch box, wrapped to look like just another gift, but filled with talcum- sprinkled plasticine to prevent its sticking to the key. When the key was slipped in and the box closed tight, it left a perfect impression in the plasticine from which a duplicate could be made.

The neviot could have broken in without a key, but why take added risks of detection if you can arrange simply to walk through the front door as if you really belonged there? Once inside, they would always lock the door, then wedge a bar between the inside doorknob and the door. That way, if anyone did manage to walk past the outside surveillance and try to unlock the door, they would probably think the lock was broken and go for assistance, giving those inside more time to get away unobserved.

Once Halim had been identified, the yarid set about the practice of "motionless following," a method to determine an individual's schedule while avoiding any chance of detection. It means watching him in stages, not actually tagging along behind him, but having a man stationed nearby to watch where he goes. After a few days of that, another man stationed at the next block would watch, and so on. In Malim's case, this was extremely easy since he went to the same bus stop every day.

Through the listening device, the team learned exactly when Samira was flying home to Iraq. They also heard Halim tell her he had to go to the Iraqi embassy for a security check, alerting the Mossad to be even more careful. But they still hadn't figured out how to recruit him, and with the top priority of this case they didn't have much time to determine whether Halim would be cooperative or not.

The use of an oter, an Arab paid to contact other Arabs, was ruled out by operational security as too risky in this case. This was a one-shot deal and they didn't want to mess it up. Early hopes that Dina as Jacqueline could get at Halim through his wife were soon discarded. After the second hair appointment, Samira wanted no more to do with Jacqueline. "I saw how you looked at that girl," Samira told Halim during one of her carping sessions. "Don't you get any ideas just because I'm going away. I know what you are."

Which is how they hit upon the idea of the girl at the bus stop, with katsa Ran S. as the flamboyant Englishman, Jack Donovan. They would let the rented Ferrari and Donovan's other illusory trappings of wealth do the rest.

***

On the first ride in the Ferrari, Halim gave nothing away about his job, claiming to be a student -- a rather old one, Ran thought to himself. He did mention that his wife was going away and that he liked to eat well, but being a Muslim didn't drink.

Donovan, keeping his occupation vague to allow the greatest possible flexibility, said he dealt in international trade and suggested that maybe someday Halim would like to visit his villa in the country or join him for dinner while his wife was away. Halim did not commit himself to anything at that point.

The next morning, the blonde was back and Donovan picked her up. A day later, Donovan showed up but the girl didn't, and he again offered Halim a ride into town, this time suggesting they stop first at a local cafe for coffee. As for the beautiful companion, Donovan explained, "Oh, she's just some floozy I met. She was starting to make too many demands, so I ditched her. Pity in a way -- she was very good, if you know what I mean. But there's never any shortage of that, old boy."

Halim did not mention his new friend to Samira. This was something he wanted to keep to himself.

After Samira left for Iraq, Donovan, who'd been picking Halim up regularly and becoming quite chummy, said he had to go to Holland on business for about 10 days. He gave Halim his business card -- a front, of course, but nonetheless an actual office, complete with a sign and secretary should Halim call or come looking, at an impressive address in a renovated building near the top of the Champs Elysees.

During all this time, Ran (Donovan) was actually staying at the safe house where, after each encounter with Halim, he would meet with the head of the station or the second-in- command to plan the next move, write his reports, read the transcripts from the bugs, and go over each and every possible scenario.

Ran would do a route first to make sure he hadn't been followed. At the safe house, he'd exchange his documentation, leaving his British passport behind. Of the two reports he'd write each time, the first was an information report containing specific details of what was said at the meeting.

The second report, an operations report, would contain the five Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. It listed everything that happened during the meeting. This second report would be put into another folder and given to a bodel, or courier, who conveys messages between the sade houses and the embassy.

Operational and information reports are sent to Israel separately, either through computers or dips. An operational report is further broken up to avoid detection. The first might say, "I met with subject at (see separately)," and another report would contain the location, and so on. Each person has two code names, although they don't know their own codes: one information code and one operational code.

The Mossad's biggest concern is always in communications. Because they know what they can do, they figure other countries can do it, too.

***

With Samira gone, Halim broke from any routine, stopping off in town after work to eat alone in a restaurant or take in a movie. One day he telephoned his friend Donovan and left a message. Three days later, Donovan called back. Halim wanted to go out, so Donovan took him to an expensive cabaret for dinner and a show. He insisted on paying for everything.

Halim was drinking now, and over the course of the long evening, Donovan outlined a deal he was working on to sell old containers to African countries to use as housing units.

"They're so bloody desperate in some of these places. They just cut holes in these things for windows and a door and they live in them," said Donovan. "I've got a line on some in Toulon that I can buy for next to nothing. I'm going down there this weekend. Why don't you come along?"

"I'd probably just get in the way," said Halim. "I don't know anything about business."

"Nonsense. It's a long drive there and back, and I'd love to have the company. We'll stay over and come back Sunday. Anyway, what else are you doing this weekend?"

The plan almost failed when a local sayan got cold feet at the last moment; instead, a katsa filled in as the "businessman" selling the containers to Donovan.

As the two haggled over the price, Halim noticed that one container, which had been lifted up on a crane, had rust on the bottom (they all did -- and they were hoping Halim would notice). He took Donovan aside to tell him, enabling his friend to negotiate a discount on some 1,200 containers.

That night at dinner, Donovan gave Halim $1,000 (U.S.) cash. "Go ahead. Take it," he said. "You saved me a lot more than that by spotting that rust. Not that it will matter at the other end, of course, but that bloke selling them didn't know that."

For the first time, Halim began to realize that, in addition to offering him a good time, his new-found friendship could be profitable. For the Mossad, who know that money, sex, and some type of psychological motivation -- individually or in combination -- can buy almost anything, their man was now really hooked. It was time to get down to some real business, or tachless with Halim.

Now that he knew Halim had complete confidence in his cover story, Donovan invited the Iraqi to his luxurious hotel suite in the Sofitel-Bourbon at 32 rue Saint-Dominique. He'd also invited a young hooker, Marle-Claude Magal. After ordering dinner, Donovan told his guest he had to go out on urgent business, leaving a phony telex message behind on a table for Halim to read as confirmation.

"Listen. I'm sorry about this" he said. "But you enjoy yourself, and I'll be in touch."

So Halim and the hooker did enjoy themselves. The episode was filmed, not necessarily for blackmail purposes, but just to see what was going on, what Halim would say and do. An Israeli psychiatrist was already poring over every detail of the reports on Halim for clues to the most effective approach to the man. An Israeli nuclear physicist was also on standby should his services be needed. Before too long. they would be.

Two days later, Donovan returned and called Halim. Over coffee, Halim could plainly see that his friend was upset about something.

"I've got the chance of a superb deal from a German company on some special pneumatic tubes for shipping radioactive material for medical purposes," said Donovan. "It's all very technical. There's big money involved, but I don't know the first thing about it. They've put me on to an English scientist who's agreed to inspect the tubes. The problem is he wants too much money and I'm not sure I trust him, in any case. I think he's tied in with the Germans."

"Maybe I could help," said Halim.

"Thanks, but I need a scientist to examine these tubes."

"I am a scientist," said Halim.

Donovan, looking surprised, said, "What do you mean? I thought you were a student."

"I had to tell you that at first. But I'm a scientist sent here by Iraq on a special project. I'm sure I could help."

Ran was to say later that when Halim finally admitted his occupation it was as if somebody had drained all of Ran's blood and pumped in ice, then drained that out and pumped in boiling water. They had him! But Ran couldn't let his excitement show. He had to be calm.

"Listen, I'm supposed to meet this lot in Amsterdam this weekend. I must go a day or two early, but how be if I send my jet for you on Saturday morning?"

Halim agreed.

"You won't regret this," said Donovan. "There's a packet of money to be made if these things are legitimate."

The jet, temporarily painted with Donovan's company logo, was a Learjet flown in from Israel for the occasion. The Amsterdam office belonged to a wealthy Jewish contractor. Ran didn't want to cross the border with Halim since he'd not be using his phony British passport but his real papers, always the preferred route to avoid possible detection at borders.

When Halim arrived at the Amsterdam office in the limousine that met him at the airport, the others were already there. The two businessmen were Itsik E., a Mossad katsa, and Benjamin Goldstein, an Israeli nuclear scientist carrying a German passport. He'd brought along one of the pneumatic tubes as the display model for Halim to examine.

After some initial discussions, Ran and Itsik left the room, supposedly to work out the financial details, leaving the two scientists together to discuss technical matters. With their common interest and expertise, the two men sensed an instant camaraderie and Goldstein asked Halim how he knew so much about the nuclear industry. It was a shot in the dark, but Halim, his defenses dropped completely, told him about his job.

Later, when Goldstein told Itsik about Halim's admission, they decided to take the unsuspecting Iraqi to dinner. Ran was to make an excuse for being unable to attend.

Over dinner, the two men outlined a plan they said they had been working on: trying to sell nuclear power plants to Third World countries -- for peaceful purposes, of course.

"Your plant project would make a perfect model for us to sell to these people," said Itsik. "If you could just get us some details, the plans, that sort of thing, we would all stand to make a fortune from this.

"But it has to be kept between us. We don't want Donovan to know about this or he'd want a piece of the action. We've got the contacts and you've got the expertise. We don't really need him."

"Well, I'm not so sure," said Halim. "Donovan has been good to me. And isn't it, well, you know, kind of dangerous?"

"No. There's no danger," said Itsik. "You must have regular access to these things. We just want to use it as a model, that's all. We'd pay you well and nobody would ever know. How could they? This sort of thing is done all the time."

"I suppose so," said Halim, still hesitating, but intrigued by the prospect of big money. "But what about Donovan? I hate to go behind his back."

"Do you think he lets you in on all his deals? Come now. He won't ever know about it. You can still be friends with Donovan and do business with us. We'd certainly never tell him, because he'd want a cut."

Now they really had him. The promise of untold riches was just too much. Anyway, he felt good about Goldstein, and it wasn't as if he was helping them design a bomb. And there was no need for Donovan to ever know. So why not? he thought.

Halim had been officially recruited. And like so many recruits, he wasn't even aware of it.

Donovan paid Halim $8,000 (U.S.) for his help with the tubes, and the next day, after celebrating with an expensive brunch and a hooker in his room, the happy Iraqi was flown back to Paris on the private jet.

***

At this point, Donovan was supposed to get out of the picture altogether, to relieve Halim of the embarrassing position of having to hide things from him. For a time, he did disappear, although he left a London phone number with Halim just in case he wanted to get in touch. Donovan said he had a business deal in England and he wasn't sure how long he'd be gone.

Two days later, Halim met with his new business associates in Paris. Itsik, much pushier than Donovan, wanted a layout of the Iraqi plant along with details on its location, capacity, and precise construction timetable.

Halim at first complied, with no apparent problems. The two Israelis taught him how to photocopy using a "paper paper," a special paper that is simply placed on top of a document to be copied, with a book or other object left sitting on it for several hours. The image is transferred to the paper, which still looks like ordinary paper, but when it is processed, a reverse image of the copied document is obtained.

As Itsik pushed Halim for more information, paying him handsomely at each stage, the Iraqi began to show signs of what is called the "spy reaction": hot and cold flashes, rising temperatures, inability to sleep or settle down -- real physical symptoms brought on by the fear of being caught. The more you do, the more you fear the consequences of your actions.

What to do? The only thing Halim could think of was to call his friend Donovan. He'd know. He knew people in high and mysterious places.

"You've got to help me," Halim pleaded, when Donovan returned his call. "I have a problem, but I can't talk about it on the telephone. I'm in trouble. I need your help."

"That's what friends are for," Donovan assured him, telling Halim he'd be flying in from London in two days and would meet him at the Sofitel suite.

"I've been tricked," Halim cried, confessing the whole "secret" deal he had made with the German company in Amsterdam. "I'm sorry. You've been such a good friend. But I was taken in by the money. My wife always wants me to earn more, to better myself. I saw the chance. I was so selfish and so stupid. Please forgive me. I need your help."

Donovan was magnanimous about it all, telling Halim, "That's business." But he went on to suggest that the Germans might, in reality, be U.S. CIA men. Halim was stunned.

"I've given them everything I have," he said, much to Ran's delight. "Still, they push me for more."

"Let me think about this," said Donovan. "I know some people. Anyway, you're hardly the first bloke who ever got taken in by money. Let's just relax and have a good time. These things are seldom as bad as they seem once you get right down to it."

That night, Donovan and Halim went out for dinner and drinks. Later, Donovan bought him another hooker. "She'll soothe your nerves," he laughed.

Indeed, she would. Only about five months had elapsed since the operation began, a fast pace for this sort of business. But with such high stakes, speed was considered essential. Still, caution was the watchword at this stage. And with Halim so tense and frightened, he'd have to be brought along gently.

After another long heated session in the safe house, the decision was made for Ran to go back to Halim and tell him it was a CIA operation after all.

"They'll hang me," Halim cried. "They'll hang me."

"No, they won't," said Donovan. "It's not as if you were working for the Israelis. It's not that bad. Anyway, who will know? I've made a deal with them. They just want one more piece of information, then they'll leave you alone."

"What? What more can I give them?"

"Well, it doesn't mean anything to me, but I suppose you know about it," said Donovan, pulling a paper out of his pocket. "Oh yes, here it is. They want to know how Iraq will respond when France offers to substitute the enriched stuff with, what is it called, caramel? Tell them that and they'll never bother you again. They're not interested in harming you. They just want the information."

Halim told him Iraq wanted the enriched uranium, but in any event, Yahia El Meshad, an Egyptian-born physicist, would be arriving in a few days to inspect the project and decide these matters on behalf of Iraq.

"Will you be meeting him?" asked Donovan.

"Yes, yes. He'll be meeting all of us from the project..

"Good. Then maybe you'll be able to get that information, and your troubles will be over."

Halim, looking somewhat relieved, was suddenly in a hurry to leave. Since he now had money, he'd been hiring a hooker on his own, a friend of Marle-Claude Magal, a woman who thought she was passing information along to the local police, but in fact was tipping off the Mossad for easy money. Indeed, when Halim had told Magal he wanted to become a regular client, she had given him the name of her friend at Donovan's suggestion.

Now Donovan insisted that Halim set up a dinner meeting with the visiting Meshad at a bistro, where he would "happen" to drop in.

On the appointed evening, acting surprised, Halim introduced his friend Donovan to Meshad. The cautious Meshad, however, simply offered a polite hello and suggested Halim return to their table when he had finished chatting with his friend. Halim was far too nervous even to broach the subject of the caramel with Meshad, and the scientist showed absolutely no interest in Halim's explanation that his friend Donovan was capable of buying almost anything and might be useful to them someday.

Later that night, Halim called Donovan to tell him he'd failed to get anything out of Meshad. The next night, meeting in the suite, Donovan persuaded Halim that if he got the timetable of shipments from the Sarcelles plant to Iraq, that would satisfy the CIA and get them off his case.

By this time, the Mossad had learned from a "white" agent who worked in finance for the French government that Iraq was not receptive to the substitution of caramel for enriched uranium. Still, Meshad, as the man in charge of the entire project for Iraq, could be a valuable recruit. If only there was a way to get to him.

Samira returned from Iraq to find a changed Halim. Claiming a promotion and a raise, he was suddenly more romantic and he also began taking her out to restaurants. They even contemplated buying a car.

While Halim was a brilliant scientist, he was not wise in a worldly sense. One night, shortly alter his wife's return, he proceeded to tell her about his friend Donovan and his problems with the CIA. She was furious. Twice during her rant against him, she said they were probably Israeli security not the CIA."

"Why would the Americans care?" she screamed. "Who else except the Israelis and my mother's stupid daughter would even bother to talk to you?"

She wasn't so stupid after all.

***

The drivers of the other two trucks carrying engines from the Dassault Brequet plant for Mirage fighters to a hangar in the French Riviera town of La Seyne-sur-Mer near Toulon on April 5, 1979, thought nothing of it when a third truck joined them along the route.

In a modern-day twist on the Trojan Horse, the Israelis had hidden a team of five neviot saboteurs and a nuclear physicist, all dressed in regular street clothes, inside a large metal container, slipping them into the security area as part of the three-truck convoy, based on information obtained from Halim. They knew that guards were always more careful about goods being removed than about deliveries. They would probably do little more than wave the convoy on through. At least, the Israelis were banking on that. The nuclear physicist with them had been flown in from Israel to determine precisely where to plant charges on the stored nuclear-reactor cores, three years in the making, to achieve maximum damage.

One of the guards on duty was a new man, just a few days on the job, but he'd come with such impeccable credentials that no one suspected him of having taken the key to open the storage bay where the Iraqi-bound equipment was waiting to be shipped in a few more days.

On the expert advice of the physicist, the Israeli team planted five charges of plastic explosives, strategically positioned on the reactor cores.

As the guards stood at the plant gates, their attention was suddenly captured by a commotion outside on the street where it seemed a pedestrian, an attractive young woman, had been brushed by a car. She didn't appear to be badly hurt. Certainly her vocal cords weren't injured, as she screamed obscenities at the embarrassed driver.

By this time, a small crowd had gathered to watch the action, including the saboteurs, who had scaled a back fence, then walked around to the front. First checking the crowd to verify that all the French guards were out of harm's way, one of them calmly and surreptitiously detonated a sophisticated fuse with a hand-held device, destroying 60 percent of the reactor components, causing $23 million in damages, setting back Iraq's plans for several months, but amazingly, doing no harm to other equipment stored in the hangar.

When the guards heard the dull thunk behind them, they rushed immediately into the targeted hangar. As they did, the car in the "accident" drove away, while the saboteurs and the injured pedestrian, well schooled in this sort of thing, quietly disappeared down various side streets.

The mission had been a complete success, seriously delaying Iraq's plans, and embarrassing leader Saddam Hussein in the process.

An environmental organization named Groupe des ecologistes francais, unheard of before this incident, claimed credit for the blast, although French police dismissed the claim. But a police blackout on news of the investigation into the sabotage led other newspapers to print speculative stories on who was responsible. France Soir, for example, said the police suspected "extreme leftists" had done it, while Le Matin said it had been done by Palestinians working on behalf of Libya; the news weekly, Le Point, fingered the FBI.

Others accused the Mossad, but an Israeli government official dismissed the accusation as "anti-semitism."

***

Halim and Samira arrived home well after midnight, following a leisurely dinner in a Left Bank bistro. He turned on the radio, hoping to hear some music and wind down a bit before going to bed. What he heard instead was news of the explosion. Halim panicked.

He began running around the apartment, tossing things at random, screaming a lot of nonsense.

"What's the matter with you?" Samira shouted over the din. "Have you gone mad?"

"They've blown up the reactor!" he cried. "They've blown it up! Now they'll blow me up, too!"

He phoned Donovan.

Within the hour, his friend called back. "Don't do anything foolish," he said. "Keep calm. No one can connect you to any of this. Meet me at the suite tomorrow night."

Halim was still shaking when he arrived for their meeting. He hadn't slept r shaved. He looked dreadful.

"Now the Iraqis are going to hang me," he moaned. "Then they'll give me to the French and they'll guillotine me."

"This had nothing to do with you," said Donovan. "Think about it. No one has any reason to blame you."

"This is terrible. Terrible. Is it possible the Israelis are behind this? Samira thinks it's them. Could it be?"

"Come on, man, get a grip on yourself. What are you talking about? The people I'm dealing with wouldn't do anything like that. It's probably some sort of industrial espionage. There's a lot of competition in the field. You've told me that yourself."

Halim said he was going back to Iraq. His wife wanted to go anyway, and he'd served enough time in Paris. He wanted to get away from these people. They wouldn't follow him to Baghdad.

Donovan, hoping to dismiss the notion of any Israeli involvement, pushed his theory of the industrial sabotage and told Halim that if he really wanted a new life, he could approach the Israelis. He had two reasons for suggesting this: first, to further distance himself from the Israelis; and second, to attempt a head-on recruitment.

"They'll pay. They'll give you a new identity and protect you. They'd love to know what you know about the plant."

"No, I can't," said Halim. "Not with them. I'm going home."

And he did.

***

Meshad was still a problem. With his stature as one of the few Arab scientists with authority in the nuclear field, and one close to senior Iraqi military and civilian authorities, the Mossad still hoped it could recruit him. Yet despite Halim's unwitting help, several key questions remained unanswered.

On June 7, 1980, Meshad made another of his frequent trips to Paris, this time to announce some final decisions about the deal. During a visit to the Sarcelles plant, he told French scientists, "We are making a change in the face of Arab world history," which is precisely what Israel was worried about. The Israelis had intercepted French telexes detailing Meshad's travel schedule and where he would stay (Room 9041 at the Meridien Hotel), making it easier to bug his room before he got there.

Meshad was born in Banham, Egypt, on January 11, 1932. He was a serious, brilliant scientist, and his thick black hair was beginning to recede noticeably. His passport listed his occupation as a lecturer in the department of atomic engineering, University of Alexandria.

In interviews later with an Egyptian newspaper, his wife, Zamuba, said the couple and their three children (two girls and a boy) had been about to leave for a Cairo vacation. In fact, she said Meshad had already bought the plane tickets when he was phoned by an official from the Sarcelles plant. She heard him say, "Why me? I can send an expert." She said that from that moment on, he was very nervous and angry and that she believed there was an Israeli agent in the French government who had set a trap for him. "There was danger, of course. He used to tell me he would continue the assignment of creating the bomb even if he had to pay for it with his life."

The official news story, released to the media by the French authorities, is that Meshad was accosted by a hooker in the elevator as he was returning to his ninth floor room at about 7 p.m. on a stormy June 13, 1980. The Mossad already knew Meshad was heavily into kinky sex, S & M actually, and a hooker whose nickname was Marie Express had been entertaining him regularly. She was slated to show up at about 7:30 p.m. Her real name was Marie-Claude Magal, whom Ran had initially sent to Halim. Although she did considerable work for the Mossad, she never was told exactly who her employers were. And as long as they paid, she didn't care.

They also knew Meshad was a tough cookie, not as gullible as Halim. And since he would be staying only a few more days, the decision was taken to approach him directly. "If he agrees, he's recruited," explained Arbel. "if he doesn't, he's dead."

He didn't.

Yehuda Gil, an Arabic-speaking katsa, was sent to Meshad's door shortly before Magal arrived. Opening the door just enough to peek out, but leaving it chained, Meshad snapped, "Who are you? What do you want?"

"I'm from a power that will pay a lot of money for answers," Gil said.

"Get lost, you dog, or I'll call the police," Meshad replied.

So Gil left. In fact, he flew back to Israel immediately, so that he could never be connected to Meshad's destiny.

As for Meshad, he met a different fate.

The Mossad doesn't execute people unless they have blood on their hands. This man would have had the blood of Israel's children on his hands if he'd completed his project. So why wait?

Israel intelligence did at least wait until alter Magal had entertained Meshad and left a couple of hours later. Might as well die happy, was the reasoning.

As Meshad slept, two men slipped quietly into the suite with a passkey and slit his throat. His blood-soaked body was found by a chambermaid the next morning. She'd come by a few times but the Do Not Disturb sign had discouraged her. Finally, she had knocked on the door and when there was no answer, walked in.

French police said at the time that it was a professional job. Nothing was taken. No money. No documents. But a towel stained with lipstick was found on the bathroom floor.

Magal was shocked to hear about the murder. After all, Meshad been alive when she left him. Partly to protect herself, and partly because she was suspicious, she went to the police and reported that Meshad had been angry when she arrived, ranting about some man approaching him earlier and wanting to buy information.

Magal confided her actions to her friend, Halim's former "regular," who in turn unknowingly passed the information on to a Mossad contact.

Late on the night of July 12, 1980, Magal was working the Boulevard St-Germain when a man in a black Mercedes pulled up to the curb and motioned for her to come around to the driver's side.

There was nothing unusual about that, but as she began talking to her potential customer, another black Mercedes pulled out from the curb and proceeded at high speed down the avenue. Just at the right moment, the driver in the parked car gave Magal a heavy shove, sending her flying backward into the path of the oncoming car. She was killed instantly. Both cars sped on into the Paris night.

***

While both Magal and Meshad were assassinated by the Mossad, of course the internal machinations leading up to their deaths were dramatically different.

First, Magal. Concerns about her would have become acute on the desk in Tel Aviv headquarters as the various reports from the field were received, decoded, and analyzed, and it became clear that she had gone to the police and could create serious difficulties.

These concerns would have been passed up the administrative ladder, eventually landing on the desk of the head of the Mossad, where the final decision to "take her out" would be made.

Her assassination was in the category of an operational emergency, the sort of situation that arises during operations, where decisions have to be made relatively quickly based on the precise circumstances of the case.

The decision to execute Meshad, however, emanated from an ultra-secret internal system involving a formal "execution list," and requiring the personal approval of the prime minister of Israel.

The number of names on that list varies considerably, from just one or two up to 100 or so, depending upon the extent of anti-Israeli terrorist activities.

A request to place someone on the execution list is made by the head of the Mossad to the prime minister's office. Let's say, for example, there was a terrorist attack on an Israeli target -- which doesn't necessarily mean Jewish, incidentally. It could be a bomb attack on an El Al office in Rome, for instance, that killed some Italian citizens. But that would constitute an attack on Israel, since it was designed to discourage people from using El Al, an Israeli airline.

Let's say the Mossad knew for certain that Ahmed Gibril was the culprit who ordered and/or organized the attack. At that point, it would recommend Gibril's name to the PMO, and the prime minister in turn would send it to a special judicial committee, so secret that the Israeli supreme court doesn't even know it exists.

The committee, which sits as a military court and tries accused terrorists in absentia, consists of intelligence personnel, military people, and officials from the justice department. Hearings, in a court-like setting, are held at various locations, often at someone's private residence. Both the personnel on the committee and the location of the trial are changed for each case.

Two lawyers are assigned to the case, one representing the state, or the prosecution, the other the defense, even though the accused is unaware of the whole process. The court then decides on the basis of the evidence presented whether this man -- in this case, Gibril -- is guilty as charged. If he is found guilty, and at this stage the accused usually are, two things can be ordered by the "court": either bring him to Israel for trial in a regular court, or, if that is too dangerous or simply impossible, execute him at the first possible opportunity.

But before the hit is carried out, the prime minister must sign the execution order. The practice differs, depending upon the prime minister. Some sign the document in advance. Others insist on first determining whether the hit would create any political difficulties at a given time.

In any event, one of the first duties of any new Israeli prime minister is to read the execution list and decide whether or not to initial each name on it.

***

It was on June 7, 1981, at 4 p.m. on a bright, sunny Sunday, that a group of two dozen U.S.-built F-15s and F-16s took off from Beersheba (not from Elat, as widely reported, since that is adjacent to Jordanian radar), on a treacherous 90-minute, 650-mile journey across hostile countries to Tuwaliha, just outside Baghdad, intent on blasting the Iraqi nuclear plant to kingdom come.

Accompanying them was what looked like an Aer Lingus commercial carrier (the Irish lease their planes to Arab countries, so it wouldn't seem out of place), but in truth was an Israeli Boeing 707 refueling aircraft. The fighters kept in close formation, with the Boeing flying directly underneath, to make it appear as if there was only one aircraft, a civilian plane on a civilian route. The fighters were flying on "silent," meaning they transmitted no messages, but they did accept them from a backup Electronic Warfare & Communications plane, which also served to jam other signals, including hostile radar.

About halfway there, over Iraqi territory, the Boeing refueled the lighter aircraft. (The return flight to Israel was too long to accomplish without refueling, and they couldn't risk trying it after the attack since they might be pursued; hence the brazen refueling directly over Iraq.) The refueling complete, the Boeing peeled off from the formation, accompanied by two of the lighter aircraft for protection, cutting northwest through Syria, eventually landing in Cyprus, as if on a regular commercial route. The two fighters stayed with the Boeing only until it left hostile territory, returning to their base at Beersheba.

In the meantime, the rest of the fighters continued on their way, armed with Sidewinder missiles, Iron bombs, and 2,000-pound "laser-riding" bombs (which ride a beam directly to the target).

Thanks to information originally obtained from Halim, the Israelis knew exactly where to strike to inflict the most damage. The key was bringing down the dome at the heart of the plant. An Israeli combatant was also in the area with a beacon, sending out a strong signal in short beeps on a predetermined frequency to guide the fighters to their target.

There are essentially two ways to find a target. First, you can see it with your eye. But to do that at speeds greater than 900 miles an hour you have to know the area well, especially for a relatively small target. You go by the landscape, but you have to know the terrain, recognize particular landmarks, and obviously the Israelis had not had the opportunity to practice their maneuvers over Baghdad. They had practiced over their own territory, however, on a model of the plant, before heading off to attack the real thing.

The other method of finding a target is to have a beacon, a homing device, as a guide. They had one outside the plant, but to make absolutely sure, Damien Chassepied, a French technician who had been recruited by the Mossad, was asked to deposit a briefcase containing a homing device inside the building. For reasons unknown, Chassepied lingered inside and became the only human casualty of the extraordinary assault.

At 6:30 p.m. in Iraq, the planes climbed from deck level, where they'd been flying so low (to avoid radar) that they could see the farmers in the surrounding fields, attaining a height of about 2,000 feet just before reaching the target.

So fast was their climb that it baffled the defenders' radar, and the sun setting behind the raiders blinded the Iraqis manning a ring of anti-aircraft guns. The fighters then swooped down so swiftly, one after the other, that all the Iraqis had time to do was fire some of their anti-aircraft guns harmlessly into the air. But no SAM missiles were fired, and no Iraqi aircraft were sent in pursuit as the raiders turned and headed back to Israel, flying at a higher altitude and taking a shorter route back directly over Jordan, leaving Saddam Hussein's dreams of turning Iraq into a nuclear power in tatters.

As for the plant itself, it was devastated. The huge dome cover on the reactor building was knocked clean off its foundation and the building's heavily reinforced walls were blasted apart. Two other major buildings, both vital to the plant, were badly damaged. Videotape recorded by Israeli pilots and later shown to an Israeli parliamentary committee, captured the reactor core bursting apart and tumbling into the cooling pool.

Begin had originally scheduled the strike for late April on intelligence from the Mossad that the reactor would be operating by July 1. He postponed the strike after newspaper stories saying that former defense minister Ezer Weizman told friends that Begin was "preparing an adventurous pre-election operation."

Another target date, May 10, just seven weeks before Israel's June 30 election, was also abandoned when Labor party leader Shimon Peres sent Begin a "personal" and "top secret" note saying he should "desist" from the attack because the Mossad intelligence was "not realistic." Peres predicted the attack could isolate Israel "like a tree in the desert."

***

Just three hours alter they'd taken off, the fighter planes arrived safely back in Israel. For two hours, Prime Minister Menachem Begin had been waiting for news in his home on Smolenskin Street, with his entire cabinet in attendance.

Shortly before 7 p.m., General Rafael Eitan, commander-in-chief of the Israeli army, phoned Begin to say the mission had been accomplished (this final stage was called Operation Babylon) and all hands were safe.

Begin is reported to have said "Baruch hashem," Hebrew for "Blessed be God."

Saddam Hussein's immediate reaction was never publicly recorded.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:41 am

PART 1: CADET 16

1. Recruitment


IN LATE APRIL 1979. I was just back in Tel Aviv after two days' submarine duty, when my naval commander handed me orders to attend a meeting at the Shalishut military base on the outskirts of Ramt Gan, a suburb of the city.

At the time, I was a captain, head of the weapons-system testing branch of the Israeli navy's operations section at its Tel Aviv headquarters.

I was born in Edmonton, Alberta, on November 28, 1949, and was just a child when my parents separated. My father had served in the RCAF during World War II, flying numerous missions over Germany in his Lancaster bomber. After the war, he volunteered for Israel's War of Independence: a captain, he commanded the Sede Dov air base on Tel Aviv's northern outskirts.

My Israeli mother had also served her country during the war, driving supply trucks from Tel Aviv to Cairo for the British. Afterward, she was active in the Israeli resistance, the Hagona. A teacher, she moved with me to London, Ontario, then briefly to Montreal, and finally to Holon, a city near Tel Aviv, when I was six. My father had emigrated to the United States from Canada.

My mother would return to Canada again, but when I was 13, we were back in Holon. My mother would eventually return to Canada, but I remained in Holon with my maternal grandparents, Haim and Ester Margolin, who had fled the pogroms in Russia in 1912 with their son Rafa Another son had been killed in a pogrom. In Israel, they had two more children, a son Maza, and a daughter Mira, my mother. They were real pioneers in Israel. My grandfather was an accountant, but until he could get his papers out of Russia to prove it, he washed floors in the UJA (United Jewish Agency). He later became their auditor-general, and was a very honorable person.

I was brought up a Zionist. My Uncle Maza had been in the elite unit of the pre-state army, the "Wolves of Samson," and served during the War of Independence.

My grandparents were very idealistic. My own idea of Israel as I was growing up was as the land of milk and honey. That any hardships were worth it. I believed it was a country that would do no wrong, would not inflict evil on others, would set an example for all nations to see and to follow. If there was anything wrong financially or politically in the country, I always imagined this was at the lower echelons of government - with the bureaucrats, who would eventually clean up their act. Basically, I believed there were people guarding our rights, great people like Ben-Gurion, whom I really admired. I grew up regarding Begin as the militant I couldn't stand. Where I grew up, political tolerance was the main rule. Arabs were regarded as human beings. We'd had peace with them before and eventually would again. That was my idea of Israel.

Just before I turned 18, I joined the army for the compulsory three-year term, emerging as a second lieutenant in the military police nine months later - then the youngest officer in the Israeli military.

During my term, I served at the Suez Canal, on the Golan Heights, and along the Jordan River. I was there when Jordan was clearing the PLO out, and we allowed the Jordanian tanks to pass through our territory so as to 'surround them. That was weird. The Jordanians were our enemy, but the PLO was a greater enemy.

After my military term ended in November 1971, I returned to Edmonton for five years, working at various jobs from advertising to managing the CN carpet store at the city's Londonderry Shopping Center, missing the 1973 Yom Kippur War. But I knew that war wouldn't end for me until I gave something. I returned to Israel in May 1977 and joined the navy.

* * *

When I arrived for the meeting at the Shalishut base, I was ushered into a small office where a stranger sat at a desk, a few papers in front of him.

"We've pulled your name out of a computer," the man said. "You fit our criteria. We know you're already serving your country, but there's a way you can serve it better. Are you interested?"

"Well, yes, I'm interested. But what's involved?"

"A series of tests first, to see if you're suitable. We'll call you."

Two days later, I was summoned to an apartment in Herzlia for an 8 p.m. meeting. I was surprised when the naval base psychiatrist answered' the door. They made a mistake doing that. He said he was doing this job for a security group and that I mustn't mention it on the base. I told him that was fine with me.

For the next four hours, I was given a variety of psychiatric tests: from ink blots to detailed questions on how I felt about everything imaginable.

A week later I was called to another meeting in the northern part of Tel Aviv near Bait Hahayal. I had already told my wife about it. We had this feeling it involved the Mossad. Growing up in Israel, you know these things. Anyway, who else could it be?

This would be the first of a series of meetings with a man who gave his name as Ygal, followed by long sessions in Tel Aviv's Scala Cafe. He kept telling me how important it was. He gave constant pep talks. I filled in hundreds of forms, questions such as: "Would you regard killing somebody for your country as something negative? Do you feel freedom is important? Is there anything more important than freedom?" That sort of thing. Since I was sure it was for the Mossad, I thought the answers they wanted were fairly obvious, predictable. And I really wanted to pass.

As time went on, these meetings would be held every three days - a process that continued for about four months. At one point, I was given a complete medical examination at a military base. When you're in the service, normally you walk in and there are 150 guys there. It's like a factory. But here they had 10 rooms for testing, each with a doctor and a nurse in it, and they were waiting for me. I was alone. Each team spent about half an hour with me as I went from one room to the next. They did every kind of test. They even had a dentist. Somehow that made me feel really important.

After all this, I still hadn't been given much information about the job they were so anxious to give me. Even so, I was keen to accept it, whatever it was.

Finally Ygal told me the job training would keep me in Israel most of the time, but not at home. I would be allowed to see my family once every two or three weeks. Eventually, I would be sent abroad and then I would see my family only every other month or so. I told Ygal no, I couldn't be away that much. It wasn't for me. Still, when he asked me to think about it, I agreed. Then they called my wife, Bella, on the phone. They harassed us by phone for the next eight months.

Since I was already serving in the military, I didn't feel as if I was neglecting my country. That compensated for it. I was quite right-wing at the time - politically, not socially. I believed then you could separate the two, especially in Israel. Anyway, I really did want that job, but I just couldn't be away from my family that much.

I was not told at the time precisely what job I was applying for, but later on when I actually did join the Mossad I learned they had been grooming me for the kidon, the Metsada department's assassination unit. (Metsada, now called Komemiute, is the department in charge of combatants.) But still I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life.

* * *

In 1981 I left the navy, having served in Lebanon at the start of the war. As an accomplished graphic artist, I decided to open my own business. making stained-glass windows. I made a few and tried to sell them but soon realized that stained glass wasn't all that popular in Israel, partly because it reminded people of churches. Nobody wanted to buy the windows. A number of· people were interested in learning how to make them, though, so I turned my shop into a school.

In October 1982, I received a cable at home giving me a telephone number to call on Thursday between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. I was to ask for Deborah. I phoned right away. They gave me an address on the main floor of the Hadar Dafna Building, an office tower on King Saul Boulevard, in Tel Aviv - later, I learned it was the Mossad headquarters building - one of those gray, bare concrete things popular in Israel.

I walked into the lobby. There was a bank on the right, and on the wall to the left of the entrance, a small, inconspicuous sign: Security Service Recruitment. My previous experience was still haunting me. I felt I'd really missed out on something. Because I was so anxious, I arrived an hour early and went to the second-floor cafeteria, which is open to the public. On that side of the building, several private businesses gave the place quite a regular feeling, but Mossad headquarters was constructed as a building within a building. I had a toasted cheese sandwich - I'll never forget that. As I ate it, I was looking around the room wondering if anyone else there had been called like I had.

When the time came, I went downstairs to the designated office and eventually was shown into a small room with a large, light-colored wood desk. It was sparsely furnished. There was an in-and-out basket on the desk, a telephone, a mirror on the wall, and the photo of a man who looked familiar, though I couldn't quite place him.

The pleasant-looking fellow at the desk opened a small file, glanced at it quickly, and said, "We're looking for people. Our main goal is saving Jews all over the world. We think you might fit in. We're like a family. It's hard work and it can be dangerous, but I can't tell you any more than that until we put you through some tests.· The man went on to explain that after each set of tests, they'd call. If I failed anyone of them, that was it. If I passed, I'd be given details for the next test. "If you fail or drop out, you're not to contact us again. There's no appeal process. We decide and that's the end of It. Is that understood?"

"Yes."

"Fine. Two weeks from today, I want you here at 9 a.m. and we'll start the tests."

"Will this mean being away from my family a lot?"

"No, it won't."

"Good. I'll be here in two weeks."

When the day came, I was ushered into a large room. Nine other people were assembled at student desks and we were each handed a 30-page questionnaire containing personal questions, tests of all kinds, everything designed to find out who you are and what and how you think. Once we had completed the questionnaires and turned them in, we were told: "We'll call you."

A week later I was called in again for a meeting with a man who would test my English which I speak without an Israeli accent. He asked me the meanings of a lot of. slang expressions, but he was slightly behind the times, with ones like "far out." He also asked me a lot about cities in Canada and the United States, who the U.S. president was, that sort of thing.

The meetings continued for about three months, but unlike my first experience, they were held in the downtown office during the day. I had another physical, but this time, I wasn't alone. I also completed two polygraph tests. The recruits were constantly reminded not to reveal anything about themselves to each other. "Keep yourself to yourself" was the watchword.

As the meetings went on I was getting more and more anxious. The man who interviewed me was called Uzi, and I got to know him better later on as Uzi Nakdimon, head of personnel recruitment. f1nally, he told me I'd passed everything except the final test, but before that, they wanted to meet with Bella.

Her session lasted six hours. Uzi asked her everything imaginable, not only about me but about her own political background, her parents, her strengths and weaknesses, plus a lengthy scrutiny of her attitudes on the state of Israel and its place in the world. The office psychiatrist was also there, as a silent observer.

Afterward, Uzi called me back in and told me to show up Monday at 7 a.m. I was to bring two suitcases packed with various kinds of clothing, from jeans to a suit. This would be my final three- to four-day. test. He went on to explain that the program involved two years of training and that the salary would be the equivalent of one rank higher than my present military rank. Not bad, I thought. I was then a lieutenant commander, and this would make me a colonel. I was really excited. It was finally happening. I felt I was really something special, but I found out later that thousands of men get interviewed. They hold a course once every three years or so, if they can get enough people. They end up with about 15 in the course and sometimes they all finish, sometimes none do. There is no predetermined result. They say that for everyone of the 15 accepted into the course, they go through 5,000.

They pick the right people, not necessarily the best people. There's a big difference. Most of the selectors are field people and they're looking for very specific talents. But they don't reveal that. They just let you think you're something special, just being chosen for the tests.

***

Shortly before the appointed day, a messenger delivered a letter to my home, again stating the time and location and reminding me to bring clothes for different occasions. It also told me not to use my own name. I was to write my assumed name on an attached piece of paper, along with a short back ground for a new identity. I chose the name Simon Lahav. My father's name is Simon, and I'd been told that the name Ostrovsky in Polish or Russian means a sharp blade. Lahav is blade in Hebrew.

I listed myself as a freelance graphic designer, using my own real expertise in the field but not tying myself to anything too specific. I gave an address in Holon that I knew was an empty field.

Arriving on schedule just before 7 a.m. on a rainy day in January 1983, I found there were two women and eight other men in the group, plus three or four people I took to be instructors. After handing in the envelopes containing their new identities, the group was taken by bus to a well-known apartment-hotel resort called the Country Club, outside Tel Aviv on the road to Haifa. It boasts of having the most recreational facilities of any resort in Israel.

We were assigned in pairs to one-bedroom units, told to stow our suitcases, and then gather in Unit 1.

On a hill overlooking the Country Club sits the so-called prime minister's summer residence. In reality it is the Midrasha, the Mossad training academy. I looked up at the hill that first day. Everyone in Israel knows that place has something to do with the Mossad, and I wondered if after this, I'd end up there. I figured then that everyone else was there to test me. It may sound paranoid, but paranoia is a plus in this business.

Unit 1 featured a huge entrance room, with a long table set up in the middle all laid out for an elegant breakfast. There was an incredible buffet with more food on it than I'd ever seen, as well as a chef on duty waiting to take orders if anyone wanted something special.

In addition to the 10 students, a dozen or so others were milling around having breakfast. At about 10:30 the group moved into an adjoining room, also set up with a long table in the middle, where the students sat, and tables along the wall behind where the others sat. Nobody rushed us. We'd had a leisurely breakfast and there was coffee for us in the conference room - and as usual, everybody was smoking.

Uzi Nakdlmon addressed the group: "Welcome to the test. We'll be here for three days. Don't do anything you think you're expected to do. Use your own judgment in whatever circumstances arise. We're looking for the kind of people we need. You've already passed quite a few tests. Now we want to make certain you're right for us.

"Each of you will be assigned a guide/instructor," he went on. "Each of you has taken a name and a profession as a cover. You will try to keep this cover, but at the same time It's your job to try to uncover everybody else at this table."

I didn't know it at the time, but this was the first test group to include women. There was some political pressure to have women as katsas, so they decided to bring some in, supposedly to see if they could make it. Of course, they had no Intention of allowing that to happen. It was just a gesture. There are women combatants, but they've never allowed women to be katsas. Women are more vulnerable, for one thing, but the Mossad's main target is men. Arab men. They can be lured by women, but no Arabs would work for women. So they can't be recruited by women.

We 10 recruits began by introducing ourselves and our cover stories. As each one of us did that, the other people being tested began asking questions. From time to time one of the testers sitting at the tables behind us would also ask questions.

I was fairly loose with my story. I didn't want to say I worked for such-and-such a company, because somebody there might know that company. I said I had two children, although I made them boys since I was not allowed to reveal any factual details. But I wanted to keep as close as I could to my real story. It was easy. I didn't feel pressure. It was a game, one I enjoyed.

The exercise lasted about three hours. At one point when I was asking questions, a tester leaned over with his notebook and said, "Excuse me, what's your name?" Little things like. that, checking your concentration and so on. You had to be constantly on guard.

When the session ended, we were told to go back to our rooms and dress in street clothes. "You're going downtown."

We were divided into groups of three students each and joined two instructors in a car. Once our car was in Tel Aviv, two more instructors met us at the corner of King Saul Boulevard and Ibn Gevirol. It was about 4:30 p.m. One of the instructors turned to me and said, "See that balcony on the third floor over there? I want you to stand here for three minutes and think. Then I want you to go to that building and within six minutes, I want to see you standing out on the balcony with the owner or tenant, and I want you holding a glass of water."

Now I was scared. We had no ID with us at all, and it's against the law in Israel not to have ID. We were told to use only our cover name, no matter what. In Israel, you just don't go without your papers. We were told that if we got into trouble with the police, we had to give them our cover story, too.

So what to do? My first problem was to figure out exactly which apartment it was. After what seemed a lifetime, I finally told the instructor I was ready to go.

"What, in general, are you doing?" he asked.

"In general, I'm making a movie," I replied.

Although they wanted fairly spontaneous actions, the instructors also wanted each of us to have a basic plan of action rather than an enactment of the Arabic expression, "Ala bab Allah, " or "Whatever will be, will be; let's just leave it to Allah."

I walked briskly into the building and up the stairs, counting the apartments from the stairwell to make sure I got the right one. A woman of about 65 answered my knock.

"Hi," I said in Hebrew. "My name is Simon. I'm from the department of transportation. You know that intersection outside has quite a few accidents." I paused to gauge her reaction.

"Yes, yes, I know," she said. (Considering the way Israelis drive, there are many accidents at most intersections, so it was quite a safe assumption for me to make.)

"We'd like to rent your balcony if we could."

"Rent my balcony?"  

"Yes. We want to film the traffic at that intersection. There would be no people here. We'd just place a camera on your balcony. Could I take a look to make sure it's the right angle? If it is, would £500 a month be enough?"

"Yes, certainly," she said, ushering me toward the balcony.

"Oh, by the way, I'm sorry to trouble you, but could I have a glass of water? It's so hot today."

The two of us were soon standing side by side on the balcony looking down at the street.

I felt great. I saw everyone watching us. When the woman turned her head, I raised my glass to them. I took the woman's name and phone number, told her we still had some other places to check, and we'd let her know if we chose her balcony.

When I went back downstairs, one of the other students had gone on his assignment. He went to an automatic banking machine where he was supposed to borrow the equivalent of $10 from any stranger who was using the machine. He told a man he needed a cab because his wife was in the hospital having a baby and he had no money. He took the man's name and address and promised to send him the money. The man gave into him.

The third student in the group wasn't quite as lucky. He was told to appear on a balcony in another apartment building, so he first gained access to the roof by saying he was checking the television antenna. Unfortunately for him, when he went to the chosen apartment with his story and asked the tenant if he could look up at the antenna from his balcony, he discovered the man was employed by the antenna company.

"What are you talking about?" the man asked. "There's nothing wrong with the antenna." The student had to make a hasty retreat when the man threatened to call the police.

After that exercise, we were driven to Hayarkon Street, a main street along the Mediterranean lined by all the major hotels. I was taken into the lobby of the Sheraton and told to sit.

"See the hotel across the road - the Basel Hotel?" one instructor said. "I want you to go in there and get me the third name from the top on their guest list." In Israel, hotel guest books are kept underneath the counter, not on top, and like many other things there, tend to be regarded as confidential. It was just beginning to get dark as I crossed the street, still not knowing how I was going to get that name. I knew I had backing. I knew it was a game. But still, I was afraid and excited. I wanted to succeed, even though, when you think of it, the task was pretty stupid.

I decided to speak English, because right away you're treated better. They think you're a tourist. As I approached the desk to ask if there were any messages for me, I thought of the old joke about phoning somebody and asking if Dave is there. You phone several times and ask the same question, and the guy answering the phone gets angrier each time because you've got the wrong number. Then you phone and say, "Hi, this is Dave. Are there any messages for me?"

The clerk looked up at me. "Are you a guest?"

"No; I'm not," I said. "But I'm expecting to meet somebody here."

The desk clerk said there were no messages, so I sat down to wait in the lobby. After about half an hour, during which time I continually looked at my watch, I returned to the desk. "Maybe he's already here and I've missed him," I said.

"What's his name?" asked the clerk. I mumbled a name that sounded something like "Kamalunke." The clerk reached for the guest book and began to look it over. "How do you spell that?"

"I'm not sure. Either with a C or a K," I said, leaning over the desk, ostensibly to help the clerk find the name, but in reality, reading the third name from the top.

Then, as if just realizing my mistake, I said, "Oh, this is the Basel Hotel. I thought it was the City Hotel. I'm sorry. How stupid of me."

Again, I felt great. Then I wondered how the hell my instructors would know that the name I'd got was right. But in Israel, they have access to everything.

By now, the hotel lobbies were beginning to fill up with people, so the two instructors and I walked up the street. Saying it was the day's last test, one handed me a telephone mike with two wires attached. The equipment had a letter on the back for identification purposes. I was told to enter the Tal Hotel, go to the public wall phone in the lobby, remove its speaker, install the one I'd just been given, and return with the one I had removed, leaving the phone in working order.

There were people lined up at the phone, but I said to myself, I've got to do this thing. When my turn came, I put the token into the slot, dialed a random number, and held the receiver up by my cheek. My knees were starting to shake. People were lined up behind me· now, waiting to use the phone. I unscrewed the top of the mouthpiece, then took my notebook out of my pocket, making distracting gestures as if I was going to be taking notes. I cradled the receiver between my chin and shoulder, speaking English into it.

By this time a guy behind me was standing really close, almost breathing down my neck. So I put my notebook down, turned to him, said, "Excuse me," and as he stepped back a bit, I attached the new part. Somebody had answered the random call now, and was saying, "Who is this?" But once I'd screwed the plastic part back on the mouthpiece, I hung up.

I was shaking when I put the speaker in my pocket. I had never done anything like this before - never stolen anything. I felt weak as I went over to the instructor and handed him the piece from the phone.

Soon, all five trainees were on their way back to the Country Club, saying little. After dinner we were told to complete a detailed report by the morning on every activity we had been involved in that day, omitting nothing - no matter how insignificant it might seem.

Around midnight, my roommate and I were tired and were just watching television when one of the instructors knocked on the. door. He told me to get dressed In jeans arid come with him. He drove me out near an orchard and told me some people were probably going to hold a meeting in this area You could hear jackals howling in the distance, and crickets chirping constantly.

"I'll show you where," he told me. "What I want to know is how many people are at the meeting and what they say. I'll pick you up in two or three hours."

"Okay," I said.

He took me down a gravel road to a wadi (a stream that's dry except during periods of rainfall). There was just a trickle of water in it, and concrete piping about two and a half feet in diameter that ran under the road.

"There," he said, pointing to the pipe. "That's a good place to hide. There are some old newspapers there that you can pile up in front of you."

This was a real test for me. I'm claustrophobic and they knew it from all the psychological testing. And I hate vermin: cockroaches, worms, rats. I don't even like to swim in a lake because of all that gooey stuff on the bottom. When I looked down the pipe I couldn't see out the other end. It was the longest three hours of my life. And of course, nobody came. There wasn't any meeting. I kept trying not to fall asleep. I kept reminding myself where I was and that kept me awake.

Finally, the instructor returned. "I want a full report on the meeting," he said.

"There was nobody here," I replied.

"Are you sure?"  

"Yes."

"Maybe you fell asleep."

"No, I didn't."

"Well, I passed by here," the instructor said.

"You must have passed by somewhere else. Nobody came by here."

On the way back, I was told not to talk about the incident.

The following evening, our whole group was told to dress casually. We would be taken to Tel Aviv and each given a specific building to watch. We were to take notes on everything we saw in this surveillance exercise. And we also had to create a cover story to explain what we were doing.

At about 8 p.m., I was driven into town by two men in a small car, one of them Shai Kauly, a veteran katsa with a long track record of achievement to his name. [1] I was dropped just one block off Dizingoff Street, Tel Aviv's main street, told to watch a five-story building and record everyone who went in: what time they arrived, what time they left, a description of them, which lights were on, which were off, and the times. They said they'd pick me up later, signaling me by flashing their headlights.

My first thought was that I should hide somewhere. But where? They told me I had to be within sight. I didn't know what to expect. Then I had an idea I would sit down and start to draw the building. In the drawing, I'd record the information I needed by hiding letters in English, written backward. My excuse for drawing· at night would be that there were fewer distractions then; also, because I was drawing in black and white, I didn't need that much light.

About half an hour into the exercise, my peace and quiet was shattered by a car squealing up to the curb. A man jumped out and flashed a badge.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

"Simon Lahav."

"What are you doing here?"

"I'm drawing."

"One of the neighbors complained.. He says you're watching the bank." (there was a bank on the first floor of the building.)

"No, I'm drawing. Look." I held out my work to the cop.

"Don't give me that bullshit! Get into the car."

There was a driver and another man in the front seat of the unmarked Ford Escort. They radioed in that they'd picked somebody up, while the one who'd ordered me into the car climbed into the back seat next to me. The one in the front kept asking, "What's your name?" And twice I replied, "Simon."

He asked - again and as I went to answer him again, the guy next to me slapped me on the face and said, "Shut up." "He asked me a question," I said. "He didn't ask you anything," I was told.

Now I was in shock. I was wondering where my guys were. Then the one next to me asked where I was from. I said Holon, arid the cop in the front punched me in the forehead and said, "I asked you your name."

When I said I was Simon from Holon, the cop in the back said, "What are you, a wiseguy?" Then he pushed my head forward and handcuffed my hands behind my back. The cop beside me was cursing his head off, calling me a dirty, scummy drug dealer.

I said I was just drawing, but he asked what my job was. I told him I was an artist.

By this time we were driving away. The cop in the front said, "We'll take you downtown now. We'll really show you." He took my drawings, crushed them all up and threw them on the floor. Then they ordered me to take my shoes off, which was hard to do handcuffed.

"Where are you keeping the drugs?" one asked.

"What do you mean? I don't have drugs. I'm an artist."

"If you don't talk now, you'll talk later," he said. In the meantime, they kept hitting me. One guy hit me so hard in the jaw, I thought I'd lost a tooth.

The man in the front passenger seat pulled me forward and yelled right into my face, threatening me, demanding to know where the drugs were, while the driver drove aimlessly around the city.

I figured this was straight harassment. They'd found a guy on the street and were going to make him pay. I'd heard about this kind of thing, so I demanded they take me to the station so I could get a lawyer. After about an hour of this, one of them asked me the name of a gallery where my art was displayed. I knew ail the galleries in Tel Aviv - and also that they'd all be closed at that time of night, so I gave him a name. When we got there, I was still handcuffed, so I gestured with my head toward the gallery, and said, "My paintings are in there."

My next problem was that I had no ID. I told them I'd left it at home. Then they took my pants off because they said they wanted to check them for drugs. I felt very insecure, but eventually they became mellow and seemed to believe me. I said I wanted to go back to where they'd found me but didn't know how to get there. I told them I had no money, but that a friend would pick me up later.

So they drove me back to the area and stopped by a bus stop. The one cop took my drawings off the floor and threw them out the window. They took my cuffs off, and we sat there as the one cop filled out a report. Then a bus drove up. The guy next to me finally pulled me out onto the street, where I fell down. He threw my pants and my shoes on top of me, and they took off, warning me not to be there If they came back again.

There I was, lying on the street, with people getting off the bus, and I had no pants on. But I had to grab those papers, and when I did, it was like I'd climbed Mount Everest. What a feeling of accomplishment!

Thirty minutes later, after I had dressed and resumed my surveillance, I spotted the flashing headlights, went to the car, and was driven back to the Country Club to write my report. Much later, I met the "policemen" again.

They weren't policemen at all. It seems everybody met their "policemen" that night. It was part of the test.

One of the students had been accosted by the policemen as he stood under a tree. Asked what he was doing, he'd said he was watching owls. When the cop said he didn't see any owls, the student told him, "You guys scared them away." He, too, was taken for a ride.

One of the others was "arrested" at Kiker Hamdina, a well-known square. We used to say it represented the state of Israel. It holds the circus in the summer and it's mud In the winter. Just like Israel. Half the year mud, the other half circus. This guy was an idiot. He told them he was on a special mission. Said he was being recruited by the Mossad and this was a test. Obviously, he failed it.

Indeed, of the 10 who went through the whole of this first ordeal with me, the only one I ever saw again was - one of the women. She became a lifeguard at the Mossad pool on the weekends when members' families were allowed in.

After breakfast on the third day, we were taken back into Tel Aviv. My first task was to go Into a restaurant, strike up a conversation with a man who had been pointed out to me, and make an appointment to meet him that night. Watching the restaurant for a while before entering, I noticed the waiter dancing attendance on the man, so I decided he must be the manager. When I sat down at the table next to him, I saw he was reading a movie magazine.

I figured the movie trick had worked to get me on the balcony, so it might work again. I asked the waiter if I could speak to the manager, because I was making a movie and this might be a good site. Before I could finish my sentence, there he was, sitting next to me. I told him I had some other places to look at, so I had to leave, but arranged for a meeting that night. We shook hands and I left.

Later, all 10 trainees were taken to a park near Rothschild Boulevard and told a big man in a red-and-black checkered shirt would pass by. We were to follow him inconspicuously. It was hard to be inconspicuous with 10 of us doing the following and 20 more following us. It went on for two hours. We had guys looking out from balconies, others looking from behind trees, people everywhere. But the people watching us were looking for an instinct. To see how we'd react.

After that exercise ended, and we had completed our reports, we were split up again. I was driven back down Ibn Gevirol Street, but this time the car stopped in front of the Bank Hapoalim. I was told to go in and get the manager's name, private address, and as much information as possible about him.

You have to remember that Israel is a country where everyone is suspicious about everyone and everything else, all the time. I went in, wearing a suit, and asked a clerk the manager's name. The clerk told me and, on request, directed me to the second floor. I went up and asked for him, saying I'd been living for a long time in the United States but was moving back to Israel and wanted to transfer large sums of money to a new account. I asked to speak to the manager personally.

When I walked into his office I noticed a B'Nai Brith plaque on his desk. So we talked about that for a while and before I knew it, he was inviting me to his house. He was soon going to be transferred to New York where he would become an assistant manager. We exchanged addresses, and I said I would visit him. I told him I was in transit and had no phone number in Israel yet, but that I'd call him if he gave me his number. He even had coffee brought in.

I was talking $150,000 just to get settled. I told him that when I saw how long it would take, I'd want him to transfer some more money for me. We actually got through the money part in 10 or 15 minutes, and then we started socializing. Within an hour, I knew everything about the man.

After completing that test, two other trainees and I were taken to the Tal Hotel again and told to wait until the others got back. We were there no more than 10 minutes when six men walked in. One said, "That's him," pointing directly at me.

"Come with us," said another. "You don't want to create a fuss in the hotel."

"What do you mean?" I asked. "I haven't done anything."

"Come with us," said one, flashing a badge.

They put all three of us in a van, blindfolded us, and began to drive helter skelter around the city. Eventually we were taken into a building, still blindfolded, and separated. I could hear the motion of people coming and going, but I was put into a tiny, c1oset-sized room and told to sit.

After two or three hours, I was taken out of the room. Apparently I'd been sitting in a little bathroom on the toilet seat. This was in the Academy (the Mossad training academy) on the second floor, although I didn't know that then. I was taken to another small room off the corridor. The window was blacked out and a massive-looking guy was sitting there. He had a small black dot in his eye: it looked like he had two pupils. He started gently, asking me questions. My name. Why I was in the hotel the other day taking the telephone apart. Was I planning a terrorist act? Where did I live?

At one point he said they'd take me to my address. I knew it was an empty lot, so I started laughing. He asked why I was laughing and I said I thought it was a funny situation. I was privately thinking of being taken there and saying, "My house! Where is my house?" I couldn't stop laughing.  

"This must be some kind of joke," I said. "What do you want?"

He said he wanted my jacket. It was a Pierre Balmain blazer. So he took it. Then he took all my clothes away. I was naked when they walked me back to my bathroom, and just before they closed the door, somebody threw a bucket of water on me.

They left me, naked and shivering, for about 20 minutes, then brought me back to the burly man in the office.

"Now do you feel like laughing?" he said.

1was taken back and forth four or five times between the office and the tiny bathroom. Whenever somebody knocked on the office door, 1was made to hide under the table. That happened about three times. Finally, this man said to me, "No hard feelings. There was a misunderstanding."

He returned my clothes and said they'd take me back to where they'd picked me up. They blindfolded me again and put me in the car, but just as the driver started up the engine, somebody shouted, "Wait a minute! Bring him back! We checked his address and there's nothing there."

"I don't know what you're talking about," I said, but they put me back in the bathroom.

Another 20 minutes passed, then they took me back down to the office and said, "Sorry, there's been a mistake'" They dropped me at the Country Club, apologized again, and drove away.

On the fourth morning of that first week, we were all called into a room, one at a time, for a conversation.

They asked, "What do you think? Do you think you were successful?"

1 said, "I don't know. I don't know what you want of me. You told me to do the best I could and I did." Some of them were in there for 20 minutes. 1was there four or five minutes. At the end they said, "Thank you. We'll call you."

Two weeks later, they did. 1was ordered to report to the office early the next morning.

I was in. Now the real test was about to begin.

_______________  

Notes:  

1. See Chapter 9: STRELLA
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

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2. School Days

IN ISRAEL, SEVERAL GROUPS of people believe the country is in constant danger. A strong army doesn't guarantee safety. I believed that then.

You know there is this immense need for security and you know there is an organization called the Mossad. It doesn't officially exist in Israel, yet everyone knows about it. It's the epitome, the top of the heap. You realize it's a very secretive organization, and once you're called in, you do what you are told because you believe that behind it is a form of super magic that will be explained to you in due course.

Growing up in Israel, this becomes ingrained. You start by going to the youth brigades. I was trained in shooting there, and at 14, finished second in Israel in target shooting. Using a sniper's 5htutser rifle, I scored 192 of a possible 200 points, four points behind the overall winner.

I'd spent quite a few years in the army, too. 50 I knew - or thought I knew - what I was getting into.

Not every Israeli will go blindly forward, of course, but those people who look for Mossad recruits, those who do all the psychological testing, find people who are willing, and at that stage it's assumed you will do as you're told. If you ask questions, it could bog down a whole operation later on.

At the time, I was a member of the Labor Party in Herzlia and was fairly active. My ideas were relatively liberal, so from that point on, I was in constant conflict between my beliefs and my loyalties. The whole system involves taking the proper candidates to begin with, then over time, through a well-orchestrated course of propaganda brainwashing, molding them. As they say, if you're going to squash tomatoes, you take the ripe ones. Why take a green one? It can be squashed, but it's harder to do.

* * *

My first six weeks were uneventful. I worked at the downtown office, essentially as a gofer and filing clerk. But one chilly day in February 1984, I found myself joining 14 others on a small bus. I had never seen any of them before, but we all grew more excited as the bus eventually headed up a steep hill and through a guarded gate, stopping before the large, two-story Academy.  

We cadets, 15 of us, trooped into the flat-roofed building where the spacious hall sported a Ping-Pong table in the middle. There were aerial photographs of Tel Aviv on the walls, a glass wall facing an inner garden, two long halls leading off it, and a suspended concrete staircase that appeared to float up to the second floor. The building's exterior was white brick. Inside, there were light marble floors and white brick walls.

Right away, I knew I'd been there before. As I was being dragged up to the tiny bathroom stall in the pre-training tests, I had peeped from under my blindfold and seen that staircase.

Before long, a dark-complexioned man with graying hair came in and led us out the back door and into one of four portable classrooms. The director would be with us shortly, he said.

Here again, there was lots of room, with windows on both sides, a blackboard on the front wall, and a long, T-shaped table in the middle with a viewgrapher/projector on it. This course was to be known as Cadet 16, as it was the sixteenth course of Mossad cadets.

Soon we heard swift footsteps out in the gravel parking lot, and three men walked into the room. One was short, handsome, and dark complexioned, another, whom I recognized, was older and sophisticated looking, the third a six-foot, two-inch, blond-haired man, about 50, with square, gold-rimmed glasses, casually dressed in an open shirt and sweater. He walked briskly to the head of the table while the other two sat at the back of the room.

"My name is Aharon Sherf," he said. "I am the head of the Academy. Welcome to the Mossad. Its full name is Ha Mossad, i.e. Modiyn ve le Tafkidim Mayuhadim [the Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations]. Our motto is: 'By way of deception, thou shalt do war.'"

I felt like I needed oxygen. We knew it was the Mossad, but to be told at last that we were right, God, I needed air. Sherf - better known as Araleh, a nickname for Aharon - stood there leaning on the table, then straightened up, then leaned again. He seemed so stern and so strong.

"You are a team," he continued. "You have been selected out of thousands. We've sifted through endless numbers of people to come up with this group. You have the full potential to become everything we want. You have the opportunity to serve your country in a way that only a few people have.

"You have to realize there is no such thing as quotas in our organization. We'd very much love all of you to graduate and go on to fill much-needed jobs. On the other hand, we will not pass one person who is not 100 percent qualified. If that means nobody passes, that's okay. It's happened in the past.

"This is a unique academy. You will help in the teaching process by re-forming yourselves. You are just raw material for the task of security at this stage. At the other end, you will come out as the best-qualified intelligence people in the world.

"During this period, we do not have teachers. We have people from the field who are devoting a term of their time to the Academy to be your instructors. They will return to the field. They are teaching you as future partners and colleagues, not as students.

"Nothing they say is carved in stone. Everything has to be proven to work, and it varies from person to person. But their knowledge is based on experience, and it's what we want you to have. In other words, they will be trying to pass on to you the collective experience and memory of the Mossad as they know it, and as it was passed on to them through experience, trial, and error.

"The game you are stepping into is dangerous. There is much to learn. It's not a simple game. And life is not always the ultimate in this game. Always remember that in this business we have to hang on to each other - or we may hang next to each other.

"I'm the director of this academy and the training department. I'm here at all times. My door is always open. Good luck. I will leave you now with your instructors."

He left.

Later, I would discover the irony of a sign hanging over Sherf's door. Its quotation, attributed to former U.S. president Warren Harding, read: "Do not do an immoral thing for a moral reason" - a message that is quite the opposite of what the Academy teaches.

While Sherf had been speaking, another man had entered the room and sat down. As the director left, this heavyset man, who had a North African accent, walked to the front and introduced himself.

"My name is Eiten. I'm in charge of internal security. I'm here to tell you a few things, but I won't take up much of your time. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to stop me and ask." As we soon learned, every lecturer in the course began the lesson with that comment.

"What I want to tell you is that walls have ears. There are technological advances going on all the time that you will learn about, but there are some new ones even we don't know about yet. Be discreet. We know you all come from military backgrounds, but the kind of secrets you'll be carrying around are even more important. Please think about that all the time.

"Then, forget the word Mossad. Forget it. I don't want to hear it again. Ever. From now on, you refer to the Mossad as the office. In every conversation it's the office. I don't want to hear the word Mossad again."

"You're going to tell your friends," Eiten continued, "that you're working in the defense department and you can't talk about it. They'll see you're not working in a bank or a factory. You have to give them an answer, otherwise their curiosity will cause you problems. So that's what you tell them. As for new friends, you don't make them without approval. Is that understood?

"And you're not going to use the telephone to talk about your work. If I catch any one of you talking about the office from home, you will be severely punished. Don't ask me how I know what you're talking about on your home phone. I'm in charge of security in the office, and I know everything.

"If there's something I need to know, I will use any means at anybody's disposal to learn about it. And I want you to know that the story about me from my Shaback [internal security police] days - that during an investigation I accidentally pulled a guy's balls off - is not true.

"Once every three months you're going to have a lie-detector test. And later on, every time you come back from a tour abroad, a visit abroad, or any stay outside Israel, you will be required to take a test.

"You have the right to refuse this test, which gives me the right to shoot you.

"I will meet with you several times in the future, and we will go over other things. You will be receiving ID tags in a couple of days. A photographer will come to take your pictures. At that time I want you to bring in any documentation you have from abroad, be it a passport or identification card for you, your spouse, and your children. Since you're not going anywhere in the near future, we'll hold it for you."

For me, this meant turning in my and my family's Canadian passports.

With that, Eiten simply nodded and left the room. Everybody was stunned. He had a coarse, vulgar style about him. Not a pleasant person. In fact, about two months later he was out, and I never saw him again.

At this point, the dark-complexioned man went to the front and told us his name was Oren Riff, the commander of the course.

"You children are my responsibility. I'll do everything I can to make your stay here pleasant. I hope you learn as much as possible," he said, then introduced the smallest man of the group as Ran S. ("Donovan" in Operation Sphinx) - an assistant in the course. The sophisticated, well-dressed man was Shai Kauly, second-in-command of the Academy, also one of my earlier testers.

Before he began, Riff told us a little about his own background. He had worked for the office for many years. One of his first assignments had been to help the Kurds in Kurdistan fight the Iraqis in their war of independence. He had also served as liaison for Golda Meir's office, as a katsa in the Paris station, and in liaison in many other parts of the world. "As it stands right now," he said, "there are very few parts of Europe I can go to safely." [1]

Riff then said we would start with the two subjects that would take up most of our time over the next two or three months. The first was security, which would be taught by Shaback instructors, and the second was called NAKA, an abbreviation meaning a uniform writing system. ''That means reports are to be written in one way and one way only. If you do something but don't report it, it's as if you haven't done it. On the other hand, if you didn't do something but you reported it, it would be as if you had done it," he said, laughing.

"So," he announced, "let's start learning NAKA." [2]

When it came to communicating messages, no variation in form was allowed. The paper was white, either square or rectangular. At the top you wrote the security clearance, underlined, in a certain way to indicate whether it was secret, top secret, or not secret.


On the righthand side of the page you wrote the recipient's name and who had to act on the message; it might be just one person, it might be two or three, but each name was underlined. Under that went the names of any other recipients who required copies but did not have to act on the information. The sender was usually identified as a department rather than as an individual.

The date went on the left side, along with the speed at which the message was to be delivered - cable, quick cable, regular, and so on - with an identifying number for the letter.

Underneath all this, in the middle of the page, went the subject in a one-sentence headline with a colon, and the whole thing underlined.

Under that, you wrote, for example, "in reference to your letter 3J," and the reference date. If you included people on the list of recipients who did not receive the letter referred to, you had to send them a copy of that, as well.

If there was more than one subject, they were divided by numbers, each one a single understandable reference. Every time you, wrote a number, for example, "I ordered 35 rolls of toilet paper," you repeated it: "I ordered 35 x 35 rolls . . ." That way, if there was a distortion in the computer, the number would still be legible. You signed at the bottom, using your code name.

We would spend many classroom hours practicing NAKA, since the organization's main goal is gathering information and reporting it.

On the second day, a lecture on security was postponed, and we were handed stacks of newspapers, already marked up with squares around certain stories. Each of us was given a subject and, using the newspapers as resource material, told to break it down into bits of information and write reports. When all the information was exhausted, we were to write "no more information" on the report, meaning it was complete for the time being. We also learned to write the subject headline only after we had written the report.

At this point, we were still commuting to class every day. We'd now received our small white ID tag, consisting only of our photo with a barcode below it.

Toward the end of the first week, Riff announced that we would be learning about personal security. He had just begun his lecture when the classroom door was noisily kicked in and two men leapt Into the room. One carried a large pistol, an Eagle, the other a machine gun, and they immediately began shooting. The cadets dove for the floor, but both Riff and Ran S. fell backward against the wall, covered in blood.

Before you could say Jack Robinson, the two guys were out the door, into a car, and gone. We were in total shock. But before we could even react, Riff stood up, pointed at Jerry 5., one of the cadets, and said: "Okay, I was killed just now. I want you to give us a description of who did it, how many shots were fired, any information at all that would help us track down the killers."

As Jerry gave his description, Riff wrote it on the blackboard. He then consulted the rest of the cadets, then went outside to summon the two "killers." They didn't look anything like our description. We didn't recognize them at all.

In fact, the two men were Mousa M., head of the training department for operational security, or APAM, and his assistant, Dov L. Mousa looked a lot like Telly Savalas.

"We will explain to you what the charade was all about," said Mousa. "We do most of our work in foreign countries. For us, everything is either enemy or target. Nothing is friendly. I mean nothing.


"Yet we mustn't become paranoid. You cannot think constantly about the danger you're in or fear that you are being followed or watched. If you did, you'd be unable to do your job.

"APAM is a tool. It's short for Avtahat Paylat Modienit, or securing intelligence activity. It's there to give you islands of peace and security so you can do your job properly and remain in control. There's no room for mistakes in APAM. Gabriel might give you a second chance, but mistakes are fatal.

"We're going to teach you security in stages. No matter how good you are in whatever else you do, or how capable or smart you are, if you don't pass APAM to my satisfaction, you're out. It doesn't call for any particular talent, but you must be capable of learning. You have to know fear and how to handle it. You have to keep your job in mind at all times. "The system I will teach you over the next two or three years is infallible. It's been proven. It's been perfected. It will keep being perfected. It's so logical that even if your enemies know it as well as you do, they still won't catch you."

Mousa said that Dov would be our instructor, although he would also be giving some lectures or helping out in exercises. He then took a copy of the course schedule, pointed at it and said, "See the space between the last lecture of the day and the first lecture of the next day? Tl1at's when you belong to me.

"Enjoy your last weekend as blind people, because next week we're going to start gradually opening your eyes. My door is always open. If you have any problems, don't hesitate to come to me. But if you ask my advice, I expect you to act on it."

Mousa, who was head of security for Europe the last time I had heard of him, had come from the Shaback, as had Eiten. He belonged at one time to Unit 504, a cross-border unit working for military intelligence. He was rough and he was tough. But he was still a nice person. Very ideological and dedicated. And fond of a joke, as well. [3]

Before leaving for the weekend, we cadets had to see Ruty Kimchy, the school secretary. Her husband at one time was head of the recruiting department and later, as deputy minister of the foreign office, was an important player in Israel's involvement in the disastrous war in Lebanon. He was also involved later in the Iran-Contra affair.

***

The days were usually divided into five blocks, from 8 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11, 11 to 1,2 to 3, and 3 to 8 p.m. We had regular 20-minute breaks, while lunch was between 1 and 2 p.m. in another building farther down the hill. On the way, we passed a kiosk where we could buy cigarettes, candy, and groceries at cut-rate prices. At the time, I smoked two to three packs of cigarettes a day. Almost everyone in the Academy did.

Course time was divided into four major subjects: NAKA, APAM, general military, and Cover.

Under general military, we learned all about tanks, the air force, the navy, structure of bases, neighboring countries, their political, religious, and social structures - the last usually intense lectures given by university professors.

As the days went by, we were building up more and more confidence, telling jokes in the classroom, generally in very high spirits. Three weeks into the course, a new man, Yosy C., 24, joined us. He was a friend of another cadet, Heim M., a 35-year-old, large, bald man with a huge, bulbous nose, who spoke Arabic and was always smiling slyly. Heim was married and had two children.

Yosy had worked with him in Lebanon in Unit 504, and now had just returned from Jerusalem where he'd completed a six-month course in Arabic. He was fluent in the language, though his English was appalling. He was married, and his wife was pregnant. An Orthodox Jew, Yosy always wore a knitted yarmelke, but what he really became noted for was his prowess with women. He had sex appeal. He was like a magnet to women. And he took full advantage of the fact

At the end of school each day, if there were no more exercises, I often spent some time over coffee and cakes at Kapulsky, one of a cafe chain, in Ramat Hasaron on my way home to Herzlia. Later I became part of a tight clique consisting of Yosy, Heim, and Michel M., a French communications expert who had come to Israel .before the Yom Kippur War and worked for a unit called 8200. He had done some work with the Mossad in Europe prior to joining as an "expert with handles." With French as his first language, he was regarded as a good candidate. Hence, he got into the course through the back door.

In our cafe sessions, we used to do a lot of planning, discussing strategy. Yosy would always say, "Wait for me," and he'd order cake and coffee, then leave. He'd be back 30 minutes later, saying her name was such-and-such. "I had to do her a favor," he'd say. He was constantly doing "favors." We told him he'd catch something, but he always said, "I'm young and God is on my side." It got to such an absurd point with him that we used to joke that· it was like a second job.

Cover as a technique was taught mainly by katsas Shai Kauly and Ran S. Kauly told us, "When you work in gathering intelligence, you're not a Victor or a Heim or a Yosy, you're a katsa. Most of our recruiting is done under cover. You don't walk up to a guy and say, 'Hi, I'm with Israel's intelligence and I want you to give me information for which I will give you money.'

"You work under cover. Which means you are not what you appear to be. Akatsa is expected to be versatile. That is the key word - versatile. You might have three meetings in one day, and at every one, you'll be somebody else, and that means somebody else completely.

"What's a good cover? Something you can explain with one word. Something with the widest range of possibilities. U somebody asks what you do and you say, 'I'm a dentist,' that's a great cover. Everybody knows what a dentist is. Of course, if someone opens his mouth and asks for help, then you're in trouble."

We spent considerable time practicing covers, studying various cities through library files, learning to talk about a given city as if we'd lived there all our lives. We also practiced building a personality and learning a profession in one day. This included meetings with experienced katsas where cover stories would be tested, by means of casual conversation.

The exercises were staged in a room fitted with television cameras, so the other cadets could watch from the classroom.

One of the first things we learned was not to give out too much information too quickly. It's just not a natural thing to do. This was a lesson learned in short order by Tsvi G., 42, a psychologist and the first cadet to be subjected to the exercise. Tsvi faced the katsa and talked nonstop for 20 minutes, blurting out everything he knew about his cover city and profession. The katsa didn't say anything. Back in the classroom, we laughed our heads off. And when he'd finished, he came back to the class and went, "Ah, it's over." He was happy.

We were all brought up in the military where you have a sense of loyalty to your friends, so when Kauly first asked us what we thought of the exchange, I said I thought Tsvi had studied his subject well, that he knew the city. Someone else said he'd spoken clearly and his story was understandable.

Then Ran got up and said, "Hold it. You want to tell me you agree with the garbage that went on it that room? You didn't see the mistake this putz made? And he's a psychologist. Do you guys think at all? Is that a representation of this course? I want to know what you think. Really think. Let's start with Tsvi G."

Tsvi conceded that he'd overdone it, that he'd been too anxious. That opened the floodgates for the rest of us. Ran told us to say what we thought, because everyone of us was going to be out there eventually, and we'd be crucified if we didn't do it right. "It might even save your life some day," he said.

Within 90 minutes, Tsvi had been reduced to a nonperson. Any lizard passing by the classroom would have been regarded as a smarter creature. It came to a point where we were even requesting video replays just to prove a point of stupidity. And we were all enjoying it.

That's what happens when you take a group of highly competitive people and throwaway the rules of civilized behavior. You'd be surprised at the ruthlessness of it. In retrospect, it was shocking. It turned abusive. It turned into a competition over who could hit harder and hit a softer spot. Every time the abuse tapered off a bit or calmed down, Ran and Kauly would reignite it by asking another question. We had these exercises two or three times a week. It was brutal, but it certainly taught us how to structure a cover.

By now, we had been in the course for 11 weeks. Practical lectures even included wine as a topic: how to recognize good wine, how to talk about it, where it comes from. We also practiced eating in the prime minister's formal dining room at the Academy, using actual menus from major restaurants around the globe to learn how to order the appropriate food, and also how to eat it.

In one corner of the Academy's Ping-Pong room, a television set was on 24 hours a day, playing taped shows from Canadian, British, U.S., and European television, even including reruns of series such as "I Love Lucy," and various TV soap operas, to familiarize us with U.S. shows. For instance, if we heard a theme tune, we'd know what it was from and could talk about it. Just like the new Canadian one-dollar coins. They're called loonies in Canada, but if someone asked you about them and you didn't know what he was talking about, yet you were posing as a Canadian, you'd blow your cover.

Under APAM, the next thing we learned was how to follow, first in groups, then individually. How to blend in, take vantage points, how to vanish, the. difference between tailing someone in a "fast" area (busy streets where you have to follow more closely) and a "slow area," the concept of "space and time," which is learning to gauge the distance someone will cover in a certain time. For instance, suppose your subject turns a corner on a city street, and by the time you get there, he's gone. You have to calculate If in the time you lost sight of him, he could have covered the space to -the next corner. If not, then you know he's gone into a building, so you have to stop.

Once we learned how to follow, we had to learn how to tell when we were being followed - through a procedure called the "route routine."

We were introduced to a new room in the main building. It was on the second floor, a big room with about 20 chairs airplane seats, the kind with fold-out tables and ashtrays in the armrests. There was a little ramp at the front of the room, a table, and a chair. Behind this was a big Plexiglas panel in front of a screen where they projected maps of Tel Aviv, sections at a time. Each of us had to explain our "route" on the map after the exercise. A route is the basis of any work that is done. Without it, we couldn't work.

Cadets were assigned various locations, told to leave them at a certain time, do a particular route, and report whether or not they were followed. If they were followed, they had to report who they saw, when, how many people, and what they looked like. Cadets who reported they were not followed had to say where and when they checked, how they checked, and why they thought they weren't followed. All of this would be drawn with special markers on the Plexiglas over the maps.

The cadets would report, usually the next morning, and alter all 15 had finished, we'd be told who was and who wasn't followed.

It was just as important to know that you weren't followed as it was to know that you were. If you think you were followed, but you weren't, you can't proceed. In Europe, for example, if a katsa said he was followed, the station would cease to operate for a month or two until it could be checked out. It's dangerous to say you were followed, because it naturally raises the question of who would be following you, and why.

We were also told that the houses where we lived were safe houses. We had to make sure we were not followed when we left home in the morning or returned at night. For all intents and purposes, the Academy was a station and our own homes were the safe houses.

A route was divided into two main parts. You usually planned it on a map. You'd leave a place and act completely naturally. You'd look for vantage points - a place where you had a reason to be, and from where you could see the place you came from but nobody could see you. Suppose a dentist was on the third floor of a building. On that floor was a window overlooking the street you came from. If you'd done a little Zigzag to get there, you'd notice if somebody was following you. From that window, you'd see him look and then wait.

If I was being followed by a team and I'd come out of a hotel, I'd be boxed in. So I'd walk briskly in a straight line for five minutes, to string out their box. Then I'd do a zigzag Into a building, take a look from my vantage point, and watch them getting reorganized. What I had to do next was break any coincidence factor. So I'd get on a bus, ride to another section of town, and do It again. I'd do it very slowly to give them a chance to join me.

One thing you never wanted to do if you were being followed was to lose them. If you did, how could you verify It? So, assuming they turned up again, so that I'd know I was being followed, I'd Immediately stop all planned activities. I might just go to a movie - but as far as our practices were concerned at this stage, I'd be done.

Each of us would carry a little hat in our pocket, and when we were positive we were being followed, we'd put on the hat. Then we'd walk to a phone, dial a number, say who we were, and report that we were being followed - or not - and go home. We'd often meet later at somebody's house to discuss the situation.

In the entire period of training, I made only one mistake. I once said I was being followed when I wasn't. That was because one of the other cadets copied my route plan and followed me by just five minutes. I saw the team following him and I thought they were following me. But he didn't see them following him.

By this time, the class had split up into several cliques, including mine. You felt the vulnerability within the course. You were always open to attack, and in the classroom, that applied to everybody. But afterward we'd start meeting in groups of three or four, offering one another advice and even starting to "recruit" the staff to help our cliques. We were practicing what we were taught on the people who were teaching us.

At this stage, the instructors were beginning to explain the application of what had been learned.

"Now that you've learned how to protect yourselves, you're learning to recruit," they told us. "You come to a place verifying you're clean, then start to recruit, and after, you write the report with the NAKA you've learned. And you know how to use information from the constant pounding of data you've received."

I remember Mousa saying, "At this point, my friends, you are starting to crack the shell of the egg."

The yolk was just around the corner.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See Chapter 10: CARLOS

2. See APPENDIX II

3. See Chapter 13: HELPING ARAFAT
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 1:55 am

3. Freshmen

AT THIS POINT in the course, the cadets had accumulated a fair amount of technical knowledge that now had to be given real-life application. One way we began the process was with a series of exercises called "boutiques," sometimes twice a day. The purpose of these was to teach us how to hold a follow-up meeting after successfully making the initial contact with a potential recruit. Once again, everyone else watched each cadet's performance on television in a separate room, subjecting him to an intense, and often hostile, analysis of his efforts. The exercises lasted about 90 minutes each, and they were truly gut-wrenching and terrifying.

Our every word was scrutinized, criticized. Every move, every action. "Did you put enough hooks in? What did you mean when you said he had a nice suit? Why did you ask him this question? That question?"

A mistake in the boutique, however embarrassing, still wasn't fatal; a mistake in the real world of intelligence might well be. And we all wanted to make it to that world.

We wanted to score as many points as possible to cover for any future failures. Fear of failure was immense. Somehow, we were hooked on working in the Mossad. It seemed that there was no other life out there for you anymore. What would you do? What would set your adrenaline flowing after the Mossad?

The next major course lecture was given by Amy Yaar, department head of the Far East and Africa in Tevel (liaison). His story was so fascinating that when it was over, everybody said "How do we sign up?"

Yaar's department had people positioned throughout the Far East who did little real intelligence; instead they set the framework for future business and diplomatic ties. They had a man with a British passport living in Djakarta, for example, working under cover. That meant the Indonesian government knew he was with the Mossad. He had an escape route ready, and a gold coin belt if he needed it, among other security measures. His main task was to facilitate arms sales in the region. They also had a man in Japan, one in India, one in Africa, and occasionally, people in Sri Lanka, and in Malaysia. Yaar's annual convention for his staff was in the Seychelles. He was having a lot of fun with very little danger.

Yaar's officers in Africa were also dealing in millions of dollars in arms sales. These liaison men worked in three stages. First, they made contact to find out what the country needed, what it feared, whom it regarded as enemies - information gathered through their on-site activities. The idea was to build on those needs, create a stronger relationship, then make it known that Israel could supply the government in question with weapons and training - whatever they needed. The final step in the process, once a country's leader had been hooked on the arms, was for the Mossad man to tell him that he must take, for instance, some agricultural equipment as well. The leader was then put in the position of saying he could expand ties with Israel only if they set up formal diplomatic relations. It was essentially a way of creating those relations through the back door, although in most cases the arms deals were so lucrative, the liaison men never bothered to follow up with the next step.

They did in Sri Lanka, however. Amy Yaar made the connection, then tied the country in militarily by supplying it with substantial equipment, including PT boats for coastal patrol. At the same time, Yaar and company were supplying the warring Tamils with anti-PT boat equipment to use in fighting the government forces. The Israelis also trained elite forces for both sides, without either side knowing about the other, [1] and helped Sri Lanka cheat the World Bank and other investors out of millions of dollars to pay for all the arms they were buying from them.

The Sri Lankan government was worried about unrest among the farmers - the country has a long history of economic problems - so it wanted to split them up somewhat by moving them from one side of the island to the other. But it needed an acceptable reason to do this. That's where Amy Yaar came in. He was the one who dreamed up the great "Mahaweli Project," a massive engineering scheme to divert the Mahaweli River from its natural course to dry areas on the other side of the country. The claim was that this would double the country's hydro-electric power and open up 750,000 acres of newly irrigated land. Besides the World Bank, Sweden, Canada, Japan, Germany, the European Economic Community, and the United States all invested in the $2.5 billion (U.S.) project.

From the beginning, it was an overly ambitious project, but the World Bank and the other investors did not understand that, and as far as they are concerned, it's still going on. Originally a 30-year project, it was suddenly escalated in 1977 when Sri Lanka's president, Junius Jayawardene, discovered that with a little help from the Mossad, it could become most significant.

In order to convince the World Bank especially (with its $250 million commitment) that the project was feasible and would also serve as a convenient excuse for moving the farmers from their land - the Mossad had two Israeli academics, one an economist from Jerusalem University, the other a professor of agriculture, write scholarly papers explaining its importance and its cost. A major Israeli construction company, Solei Bonah, was given a large contract for part of the job.

Periodically, World Bank representatives would go to Sri Lanka for spot checks, but the locals had been taught how to fool these inspectors by taking them on circuitous routes - easily explained for security reasons - then back to the same, quite small area where some construction actually had been carried out for just this purpose.

Later, when I was working in Yaar's department at Mossad headquarters, I was assigned to escort Jayawardene's daughter-in-law - a woman named Penny - on a secret visit to Israel. She knew me as "Simon."  

We took her wherever she wanted to go. We were talking in general terms, but she insisted on telling me about the project and how money for it was financing equipment for the army. She was complaining that they weren't really getting on with it. Ironically, the project had been invented to get money from the World Bank to pay for those weapons.

At that time, Israel had no diplomatic relations with Sri Lanka. In fact, they were supposedly embargoing us. But she was telling me about all these secret political meetings going on. The funny thing was that when news stories were leaked about the meetings, they claimed Israel had 150 katsas working in Sri Lanka. We didn't have that many katsas in the entire world. In fact, at that time there was only Amy and his helper, both on a short visit.

Another new world was revealed to me and the others with a lecture at Mossad headquarters on PAHA, the department of Paylut Hablanit Oyenet, or "hostile sabotage activities" - specifically, the PLO. The department is also sometimes called PAHA-Abroad. Its workers are essentially clerks, and theirs is one of the best research departments in the whole organization, its analysis mainly operational.

It was a shock for us. They brought us into a sixth-floor room, sat us down and told us this was where they gathered daily information on movements of the PLO and other terrorist organizations. The instructor opened his huge folding wall, about 100 feet across, and there was a massive map of the world - excluding the North Pole and Antarctica - with a series of computer consoles underneath. The wall was divided into tiny squares that lit up. If you punched "Arafat" on the computer keyboard, for example, his known location would light up on the map. If you'd asked for "Arafat, three days," it would have lit up everywhere he'd been over the past three days. The current square was always the brightest; as movements got older, the light became dimmer.

The map accommodated many people. If, for example, you wanted to know the activities of 10 key PLO people, you could punch their names in and each would show in a different color. You could also get a printout whenever you needed one. The map was particularly valuable for swift reference. For example, suppose eight of the 10 you were tracking had all been in Paris on the same day. That would probably mean they were planning something, and "steps" could be taken.

The Mossad's main computer contained more than 1.5 million names in its memory. Anyone who had been entered by, the Mossad as PLO or otherwise hostile was called a "paha," after the department. The department had its own computer program, but it drew on the memory of the main computer, as well. The computer the Mossad used was a Burroughs, while the military and the rest of intelligence used IBM.

The console screens along the side also broke down into minute detail - into cities, for example. When information was fed in from any station along with the reference PLO, the computer flashed this on the screen. The man on duty would read it and take a printout (the screen also recorded the fact that a printout was taken and at what time). There was barely a move the PLO could make anywhere in the world that didn't end up on the Mossad's giant screen.

The first thing a duty person did when he came on shift was to request a complete 24-hour movement; this gave a picture of where the PLO people had been for the past 24 hours. If there was, for example, a PLO camp in northern Lebanon and an agent noted that two trucks had arrived, that information would be forwarded to the person on duty. The next step would be to find out what was on those trucks. Contact with such agents was daily, sometimes even hourly, depending on their location and the perceived threat to Israel.

Experience showed, in fact, that seemingly innocuous things often tipped off major activity. On one occasion, before the war in Lebanon, word came back from an agent that a shipment of good-quality beef had been brought into a PLO camp in Lebanon, something these camps normally didn't have. The Mossad knew the PLO had been planning an attack, but they had no idea when. The beef shipment tipped them off. It was for a celebratory dinner. Acting on this information, Israeli naval commandos made a preemptive strike, wiping out 11 PLO guerrillas as they were getting into their rubber boats.

This was another example of how important little bits of information could be - and how essential it was to report everything properly.

* * *

At the beginning of the second month, we cadets were given our own personal weapon, a .22 caliber Beretta, the official weapon of Mossad katsas, although few actually carry it in the field because it can create serious problems. In Great Britain, for example, it's illegal to carry a weapon, so it's not worth the risk of getting caught. If you do your work properly, you don't need a weapon. If you can run away or talk yourself out of something, so much the better.

However, you were taught that if your brain does signal your hand to draw the weapon, you go to kill. Your head has to say the guy in front of you is dead. It's him or you.

Again, use of the weapon took practice. It was like ballet you learned one movement at a time.

The gun is kept inside the pants on the hip. Some katsas use holsters, but most don't. A Beretta is ideal because it's small. We were shown how to sew some flat lead weights inside the front lower lining of our jackets; this allows the flap to swing out of the way as you reach for your gun. The action is one of twisting and bending down at the same time to make yourself a smaller target; the time taken to open your coat first could cost you your life.

When you do have to shoot, you fire as many bullets as possible into your target. When he's on the ground you walk up to him, put your gun to his temple, and fire one more time. That way, you're sure.

Katsas normally used flat-tipped or dum-dum bullets that are hollow or soft-nosed, expanding after firing to inflict particularly severe wounds. Our weapons training took place at a military base near Petah Tikvah, where the Israeli military also does special training for foreign governments. We practiced for hours in front of targets, as well as in a shooting gallery where cardboard targets suddenly appeared as we walked along.

There was also a facility set up to look like a hotel corridor. We would walk down it, turn right, then right again, carrying a "room key" and an attache case. Sometimes we would get to our "rooms" without incident. At other times, a door would suddenly open and a cardboard target would pop out. We were trained to drop everything and shoot.

We were also taught how to draw a gun when sitting in a restaurant, should the need arise, either by falling back on our chair and shooting under the table or falling back, kicking the table over at the same time (I never mastered that, but some of us did), and then shooting, all in one motion.

What happens to an innocent bystander? We were taught that in a situation where there's going to be shooting, there is no such thing. A bystander will be witnessing your death or someone else's. If it's yours, do you care if he's wounded? Of course not. The idea is survival. Your survival. You have to forget everything you ever learned about fairness. In these situations, it's kill or be killed. Your responsibility is to protect the property of the Mossad: that's you. Once you understand that, you lose the shame of being selfish. Selfishness even seems a valuable commodity - something that's hard to shake off when you go home at the end of the day.

When we returned to the classroom after our extensive weapons training, Riff told us, "Now you know how to use a gun. So forget it. You don't need it." Here we were, the fastest guns in the West, and suddenly he was deflating us by saying we didn't need them. Still we said to ourselves, Oh sure, that's what he says, but I know I'm going to need it.

The routine at this point involved more long hours of lectures followed by practice routines in Tel Aviv, fine-tuning the ability to follow and/or be followed. One particularly boring lecture was given by a man who, at the time, was the oldest major in the Israeli army. In a low monotone, he went on for more than six hours about camouflage and detection of weapons and armaments, showing hundreds of slides of camouflaged equipment. The only move he made was to change the slide. He'd say, "This is an Egyptian tank." Then, "This is an aerial photo of four camouflaged Egyptian tanks." There's precious little to see in a photo of a desert scene with several- well-camouflaged tanks. It looks pretty much like a desert with no tanks. We also saw Syrian jeeps, American jeeps, Egyptian jeeps, camouflaged and otherwise. It was the most tedious lecture of my life. Later, we heard that everybody gets it.

The next lecture was more to the point. It was delivered by Pinhas Aderet and had to do with documentation: passports, ID cards, credit cards, driver's licenses, and so on. The most important Mossad documents are passports, and there are four qualities: top, second, field operation, and throwaway.

Throwaway passports had either been found or stolen and were used when you needed only to flash them. They weren't used for identification. The photo would have been changed, and sometimes, the name, but the idea is to change as little as possible. But such a document would not withstand thorough scrutiny. Neviot officers (the ones who did break-ins, cased houses, and such) used them. They were also used in training exercises inside Israel, or to recruit inside Israel.

With every passport issued, there was a folio page giving the name and address, complete with a photocopy of the section of the city where that address was. The actual house was marked on the map, and there was a photograph of it and description of the neighborhood. If you happened to run into someone who knew the area, you wouldn't be caught off-guard by some simple question about it.

If you were using a throwaway passport, you'd be told in the accompanying folio where it had been used before. You wouldn't use it at, say, the Hilton if someone else had recently been there with it. In addition, you had to have a story to cover all the stamps that appeared inside such a passport.

A field-operations passport was used for quick work in a foreign country. But it was not used when crossing borders. In fact, katsas rarely use false ID at all in going from one country to another, unless they are with an agent, something they always try to avoid. The false passport would be carried inside a diplomatic pouch sealed by a "bordero," a wax seal with a string on it, ostensibly to show it can't be opened without detection. It is used to carry papers between embassies, and recognized around the world as something that is not to be opened at border crossings. The carrier has diplomatic immunity. ([he passports, of course, could also be delivered to a katsa in another country by a bodel, or messenger.) The wax seals were made so that these envelopes could easily be opened and closed without appearing to affect the seal.

Second-quality passports, actually perfect passports, were built on katsas' cover stories, but there were no real persons behind them.

A top-quality passport, on the other hand, had both a cover story and a person behind it who could back up the story. They would stand up completely to any official scrutiny, including a check by the country of origin.

Passports are manufactured on different types of paper. There is no way the Canadian government, for example, would sell anyone the paper it uses to make Canadian passports (still the favorite of the Mossad). But a phony passport cannot be manufactured with the wrong paper, so the Mossad had a small factory and chemical laboratory in the basement of the Academy that actually made various kinds of passport paper. Chemists analyzed the paper of genuine passports and worked out the exact formula to produce sheets of paper that duplicated what they needed.

A large storage room was kept at a precise temperature and humidity to preserve the paper. Its shelves contained passport paper for most nations. Another part of this operation was the manufacture of Jordanian dinars. These have been used successfully to trade for real dollars and also to flood Jordan with currency, exacerbating that country's inflation problems.

When I visited the factory as a trainee, I saw a large batch of blank Canadian passports. They must have been stolen. It looked like an entire shipment. There were over 1,000 of them. I don't think the shipment was ever reported missing - not in the media, anyway.

Many immigrants to Israel are also asked if they will give up their passports to save Jews. For instance, a person who had just moved to Israel from Argentina probably wouldn't mind donating his Argentine passport. It would end up in a huge, library-like room, containing many thousands of passports divided by countries, cities, and even districts, with Jewish- and non-Jewish-sounding names, also coded by ages - and all data computerized.

The Mossad also had a major collection of passport stamps and signatures that they used to stamp their own passports. These were kept in a log book. Many of them were gathered with the help of police who could hold a passport temporarily and photograph the various stamps before returning it to the owner.

Even stamping a false passport was done methodically. If, for example, my passport bore an Athens stamp on a certain day, the department would check their files for the signature and stamp from that day at the correct flight time, so that if someone should check with Athens as to which officer was on duty, that would be correct. They prided themselves on this work. Sometimes they'd fill a passport with 20 stamps. They said no operation had ever been bungled by a bad document.

In addition, I'd receive a file with my passport, which I had to memorize, then discard, with general information about the day I was supposedly in Athens: the weather, the local headlines, and the current topics of discussion, where I stayed, what I did there, and so on.

With each assignment, katsas received little reminder slips about previous work; for example, don't forget that on a certain date you were at this hotel and your name was such-and-such. These also listed all the people we met and saw, another reason to include every detail, no matter how tiny it seemed, In the reports.

If I wanted to recruit someone, the computer would search for everybody connected to me in any way: anybody I'd ever met. The same check would be run on the person being recruited. If I wanted to go to a party with that person, I wouldn't run into some friend of his I'd already recruited under another name.

* * *

For an hour or two each day during the next six weeks, the class was lectured by a Professor Arnon on the subject of Islam in daily life: a study of the various sects of Islam, its history and customs, its holidays, what its followers were permitted to do - and what they really did - their restrictions, everything possible to fill in a picture of the enemy and what made him tick. At the end, we had a full day to write a paper about the conflict in the Middle East.

Next we were taught about bodlim (bodel in the singular). These are people who operate as messengers between safe houses and the embassy, or between the various safe houses. A bodel's main training is in APAM, knowing whether or not he's being followed, and he carries everything in diplomatic envelopes or pouches. Carriers of the pouch have diplomatic immunity, and carry a document to this effect. Their main function is to bring passports and other documents to the katsas and to take reports back to the embassy. Katsas are not always permitted to enter the Israeli embassy, depending on the nature of their assignment.

Bodlim are usually young men in their mid-20s, who do this work for a year or two. They are often Israeli students who have been with a combat unit, as they tend to be reliable. Though it's essential that they're trained in how to avoid being followed, they can do the job while still students. They are regarded as one of the lower ranks in the station, but even so, it's not a bad job for a student.

Most stations have two or three bodlim. Another of their functions is to look after safe houses. A station's bodlim might occupy, say, six apartments, so that the neighbors don't wonder about an empty apartment next door with the mail piling up. These bodlim live rent free in the safe houses, making sure refrigerators are properly stocked with food and drink, bills are paid,· and so on. If the safe house is needed, the bodel "occupier" may move to another one, or go to a hotel until the coast is clear. The bodlim can't bring friends or girlfriends to these safe-house apartments, but their individual contracts usually range between $1,000 and $1,500 a month, depending on how many apartments they're looking after. Along with no rent to pay, no food or drink bills, and no tuition - which is paid by the Mossad - it's not a bad deal.

The cadets' next subject was Mishlasim, or, in intelligence talk, drops and dead-letter boxes. The first rule we learned was that in the Mossad a dead-letter box was one-directional: from us to them. There was no such thing as an agent leaving you a drop, because it could very likely be a trap.

A group of people from the Mossad department that handles drops explained the basics of the art as follows:

Having established what it is you must drop, the four main considerations for success are these: you should take as little time as possible to place the item; it should look inconspicuous when being carried to the drop; it should be as simple as possible to explain its location to your contact; and when he carries it away, it should again be inconspicuous.

I made a container from a plastic soap box, matching a gray spray paint with a chip taken from a gray metal electric pole, then painting a lightning symbol in red on the box. I took four screws and nuts, also painted gray, and glued them to the plastic, then attached a magnet to the bottom. I attached the box by the magnet to the inside of the hood of my car, stopped by the electric pole as if I was having a car problem, attached the box to the inside of the leg of the pole, then drove off. Nobody would see it. And even if they did, they wouldn't touch it because it was electric. When the agent picked it up, he could put it on the side of his car engine and drive away.

We were also taught how to make a "slick," a hiding spot inside a house or apartment in a place that's easy to reach but difficult for anyone else to find. It's better than a safe. If you're in a place where you have to hide something quickly, there is no problem making slicks by using simple things you can buy in a hardware or even a variety store.

One of the simplest hiding places is a door with plywood on both sides and a frame in the middle. To hide something, you drill a hole through the top edge of the door and hang things inside it. Then there's the pipe that holds hangers in a clothes closet. There's lots of room in that. They might take your clothes off the hangers, but very few people will look at the pipe they're hanging on.

Another common way of taking a secret document or money through customs is to buy two newspapers and cut part of one out, making a little pocket inside. Then you cut out the same thing from the other paper and glue it over the spot. It's an old magicians' trick. We used to read a lot of magicians' books. You can walk right up to customs carrying the newspaper - even hand it to the officer to hold while you go through.

The next set of exercises, called "coffee," involved the trainees working in groups of three. Yosy, Arik E, a religious, six-foot-six-inch giant of a man, and I, with Shai Kauly as our instructor, went to the Hayarkon Street hotel strip, sat in the cafe for a while, then were taken one at a time into a hotel lobby. Each of us had a phony passport and cover story, and Kauly would walk into the lobby with us, look around, then tell us to make contact with whomever he chose. Sometimes they were plants, sometimes not, but the idea was to obtain as much information about them as possible and make another appointment.

I went up to one man who was a reporter for Afrique-Asie and asked him if he had a match. That led to a conversation and ultimately, I did well. He turned out to be a plant, though, a katsa who had covered a PLO convention in Tunis in the guise of a reporter for that newspaper. He actually wrote several articles for them.

As usual, after each such exercise we had to write a complete report on how we had made contact, what had been said, everything that had taken place. Back in class the next day, we critiqued each other. Oddly, sometimes you'd come to class and find your subject sitting there.

Like all exercises in the course, this one was repeated over and over again. Our schedule, already full, became hectic. We were still in training, but now we began incorporating everything, to the point that we were looking for people to hit on. It got so that we couldn't start any conversation without dropping our hooks. When you said hello, you were already planting those hooks. Normally, when recruiting, it is best to act wealthy, but you couldn't be too specific; then again, you couldn't be too vague or you might look like a crook.

The course in reality was a big school for scam - a school that taught people to be con artists for their country.

One of the problems after an exercise during which, say, I had built myself up as a rich entrepreneur, was to come back down to earth again. Suddenly I wasn't rich anymore; I was a clerk, a public servant, albeit in an interesting department, and it was time to write a report.

Sometimes things got a bit complicated in coffee. Some cadets wouldn't tell exactly what had happened, thinking that since their subjects had proven not to be insiders, they could glorify themselves a little.

One guy, Yoade Avnets, reminded us of the "oy-oy" or "ouch-ouch" bird, a bird that is not very smart but has big balls hanging below its feet, so that every time it comes in for a landing, it goes "ouch-ouch."

Every time Yoade did coffee, he'd tell this fantastic story - unless it was with an insider. He did this again and again, until one day at our morning break, Shai Kauly came in and called him by name.

"Yes?" he replied.

"Pack your bags and get out of here."

"What!" Avnets exclaimed, holding a half-eaten sandwich in his hand. "Why?"

"Remember that exercise yesterday? That was the straw that broke the camel's back."

Apparently Yoade had approached his subject and asked if he could sit down. The man had said yes, but Yoade then sat there and never opened his mouth, though he wrote a report of a lively conversation. Silence in that case was not golden, and Yoade's career came to an abrupt end.

The first half hour each day in class was now devoted to a cadet giving an exercise called Da, or "to know." This involved making a detailed analysis of a current news topic. It was yet another burden, but they wanted us to be very aware of what was going on. When you're into all this you can easily get disconnected from the real world, and that could be fatal - literally. It also gave us practice in public speaking and forced us to read the newspapers every day. H someone brought up a subject, we could show that we were aware of it and, maybe, if we got lucky, prove his story wrong.

Before long, we moved into what was called a "green" exercise - an activity in liaison designed to establish a particular approach to a problem. Suppose we knew there was a threat, a PAHA threat against an installation in a country. Discovering how to analyze and evaluate that threat involved a lot of discussion. Basically, if the threat was against a local installation that had nothing to do with Israel, and you could divulge it without jeopardizing your source, you would transfer the information to the relevant parties, usually through an anonymous phone call, or directly from liaison to liaison. If it was a case where you could give them the information without divulging a source, however, you could also tell them who you were, so they would owe you a favor later on.

If the target was Israeli, you had to use every means at your disposal to prevent harm, even if it meant disclosing your source. If you had to burn an agent in a target country in order to protect an installation of your own in a base country, then you would do so. That was a sacrifice you had to make. (All Arab countries are called "target countries," while anywhere the Mossad has stations is called a "base country.")

If the target was not your own and you had to endanger a source of any kind, then you just left it alone. It was not Mossad business then. The most you could do was offer a low-key warning, a vague warning that they should watch just in case something happened. That warning, of course, would likely be lost among thousands of others. [2]

These attitudes were engraved in our minds. We were to do what was good for us and screw everybody else, because they wouldn't be helping us. The further to the right you go in Israel, the more you hear that. In Israel, if you stay where you are politically, you're automatically shifting to the left, because now the whole country seems to be rapidly heading right. You know what Israelis say: "If they weren't burning us in World War II, they were helping, or if they weren't helping, they were ignoring it." Yet I don't remember anybody in Israel going out to demonstrate when all those people were being murdered in Cambodia. So why expect everybody to get involved just for us? Does the fact that Jews have suffered give us the right to inflict pain and misery on others?

As part of Tsomet, we were also taught how to brief an agent being sent out to a target country. The basic agent - they are quite common - is called a "warning agent." Such an agent could be a male nurse in a hospital whose assignment is to notify the Mossad if they're preparing. extra beds, or opening new wings, or stockpiling extra medication -- anything that looks like preparation for war. There are warning agents at the harbor who report if extra ships come in; agents at the fire department to notice if certain preparations have begun; at the library, in case half the staff is suddenly recruited because their work is non-essential.

War entails a lot of things, so you must be very specific when you brief the agent. If the Syrian president threatens war - as he often has - and nothing is happening, you don't worry too much. But if he's threatening war and all sorts of logistical things are happening, you need to know, because chances are, he means it this time.

We were also taught by David Diamond, head of kasaht, later called neviot, how to evaluate and tackle a still object, or a building. This was all talk, no practice. He gave us a simulation. Suppose your subject was on the sixth floor of a building and he had a document we needed to see. How to go about it? He took us through watching the building, casing it, checking the traffic patterns, police movements, danger spots - not to spend too much time standing in front of a bank, for instance - how to plan a getaway, who would go in, signaling of all sorts.

Then came more lessons on secret communications, divided into sending and receiving. Sent from the Mossad, communications could be by radio, letter, telephone, dead-letter drop, or actual meetings. Each agent with a radio was given a certain time each day that his message would be broadcast over a special nonstop station that is now computerized; for example, "This is for Charlie," then a code of letters in groups of five. The message changed only once a week to give the agent a chance to hear it. Agents had a radio and a fixed antenna, usually at their home or place of business.

Another special method of communication was through what is called a floater, a little microfilm attached to the inside of an envelope. The agent would rip the envelope and tip the microfilm into a glass of water. He'd then stick it on the outside of the glass and, by using a magnifying glass, read the message.

Going the other way, agents could contact their katsas by telephone, telex, letters, special-ink letters, meetings, or burst communications, a system whereby very short bursts of information are transmitted on a specific frequency. It's difficult to track, and every time an agent uses it, he does so with a different crystal, never repeating the same frequency. Frequency changes follow a predetermined order.

The idea was to make communication as simple as possible. But the longer an agent was in a target country, the more information he had - and the more sophisticated the equipment he needed. That can be a problem, since such equipment is that much more dangerous to be caught with. The agent has to be taught how to use this equipment, and the more he's taught the more nervous he becomes.

To instill more oomph in our Zionism, the class spent one full day visiting the House of the Diaspora, at the University of Tel Aviv, a museum that contains models of synagogues from all over the world and shows the history of the Jewish nation.

Then came an important lecture by a woman named Ganit, who was in charge of the Jordanian desk, about King Hussein and the Palestinian problem. This was followed by a lecture on the operations of the Egyptian army, then nearing the end of an announced lo-year build-up. Two days of the Shaback's telling us about the methods and operations of the PAHA in Israel were .rounded off by a two-hour lecture from Lipean, the Mossad historian, which marked the end of the first section of our program. This was June 1984.

So much of our training was based on forming relationships with innocent people. You'd see a likely recruit and say to yourself: "I've got to talk to him and get another meeting. He may be helpful." It built a strange sense of confidence. Suddenly everyone in the street became a tool. You'd think, hey, I can push their buttons. Suddenly it was all about telling lies; telling the truth became irrelevant. What mattered was, okay, this is a nice piece of equipment. How do I turn it on? How can I get it working for me - I mean, for my country?

I always knew what was up there on that hill. We all did. Sometimes the prime minister's summer residence is - actually just that - or it's used to accommodate visiting dignitaries. Golda Meir used it a lot for that. But we knew what else it was. It's just something you hear when you're growing up in Israel - that it belongs to the Mossad.

Israel is a nation of warriors, which means that direct contact with the enemy is considered the most honorable approach to take. That makes the Mossad the ultimate Israeli status symbol. And now I was part of it. It gave a feeling of power that's hard to describe. It was worth going through everything I'd gone through to get there. I know that there are few people in Israel who wouldn't have traded places with me then.

_______________

Notes:

1. See Chapter 6: THE BELGIAN TABLE

2. See Chapter 17: BEIRUT
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

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4. Sophomores

THE CADETS WERE constantly told to be flexible and versatile, to build on whatever skills we had. Anything we had ever done could be turned into an asset at a later date, so we were encouraged to learn as much as we could about everything. Michel M. and Heim M., both part of my tight little clique, had, of course, entered training through the back door. The two of them were big talkers. They knew most of the lecturers and they'd go on about how they were going to recruit generals and other high-ranking officials. I had the best English of anyone in the course, apart from Jerry S., and was best in what they call operational thinking, that is, how to gauge what is going to happen and see the problems before they come up.

Because Heim and Michel seemed more worldly at the time, I looked up to them, and they, in turn, took me under their wing. We all lived in the same general area, drove to and from classes together - usually with an evening session of coffee, cake and conversation at Kapulsky's where the best Black Forest cake I've ever had was served.

We were very tight-knit. We did a lot of thinking together, a lot of attacking together. We used to try to get into the various exercises together because we could rely on each other - or so we thought. And nobody tried to prevent that.

Oren Riff, our main instructor, who had worked for Tevel, or liaison, always stressed the importance of liaison. Between 60 and 65 percent of all information collected comes from open media - radio, newspapers, television; about 25 percent from satellites, telex, telephone, and radio communications; 5 to 10 percent from liaison; and between 2 and 4 percent from humant - agents, or human intelligence gathering for the Tsomet department (later changed to Melucha), but that small percentage is the most important of all the intelligence gathered.

Among the lectures in this second segment of the course was a two-hour dissertation from Zave Alan, the boy wonder of liaison between the Mossad and the CIA. He spoke on the United States and Latin America. Alan explained that when you deal with a liaison person from another organization, he regards you as a 'ink, and you regard him as a link and a source. You transfer to him the information your superiors want transferred, and vice versa. All you are is a connector. But since you are both people, chemistry is important.

For that reason, liaison people will be changed if necessary. Once the chemistry is right, you can create a personal relationship between yourself and the other side. As the relationship grows, your contact develops sympathy for you. He understands the dangers your country faces. The idea is to bring the intelligence down to such a personal level that now you're dealing with a friend. But you must remember that he's still part of a big organization. He knows a lot more than he's allowed to tell you.

Sometimes, however, you may be in a situation where you need information that he might volunteer to you as a friend, knowing it can't harm him and also knowing you won't leak it. That information is very valuable and, in terms of. writing your report, is classified as "Jumbo." Alan, peering out at us through his John Lennon glasses, boasted that he got more "Jumbo" information than anyone else in the Mossad.

On the other hand, we, as Mossad officers, did not give out Jumbo. We would prepare make-believe Jumbo, information to be given on a personal level in return for personal information from the other side. But passing along real Jumbo was regarded as outright treason.

Alan told us he had many friends in U.S. intelligence. "But I always remember the most important thing," he said, pausing for effect. "When I am sitting with my friend, he's not sitting with his friend."

On that note, he left.

Alan's lecture was followed by one on technical cooperation between agencies, in which we learned that the Mossad had the best capability of all for cracking locks. Various lock manufacturers in Great Britain, for example, would send new mechanisms to British intelligence for security testing; they in turn sent them on to the Mossad for analysis. The procedure was for our people to analyze it, figure out how to open it, then send it back with a report that it's "impregnable."

After lunch that day, Dov L. took the class out to the parking lot where seven white Ford Escorts were parked. (In Israel, most Mossad, Shaback, and police cars are white, although the head of Mossad then drove a burgundy Lincoln Town Car.) The idea was to learn how to detect if you were being followed by a car. It's something you practice again and again. There's no such thing as you see in the movies or read in books about little hairs on the back of your neck standing up and telling you somebody is behind you. It's something you learn only by practice, and more practice.

Each night when we went home, and each day when we left home for school, it was still our responsibility to make sure we weren't being followed.

The next day Ran S. delivered a lecture on the sayanim, a unique and important part of the Mossad's operation. Sayanim - assistants - must be 100 percent Jewish. They live abroad, and though they are not Israeli citizens, many are reached through their relatives in Israel. An Israeli with a relative in England, for example, might be asked to write a letter saying the person bearing the letter represents an organization whose main goal is to help save Jewish people in the diaspora. Could the British relative help in any way?

There are thousands of sayanim around the world. In London alone, there are about 2,000 who are active, and another 5,000 on the list. They fulfill many different roles. A car sayan, for example, running a rental agency, could help the Mossad rent a car without having to complete the -usual doc umentation. An apartment sayan would find accommodation without raising suspicions, a bank sayan could get you money if you needed it in the middle of the night, a doctor sayan would treat a bullet wound without reporting it to the police, and so on. The idea is to have a pool of people available when needed who can provide services but will keep quiet about them out of loyalty to the cause. They are paid only costs. Often the loyaity of sayanim is abused by katsas who take advantage of the available help for their own personal use. There is no way for the sayan to check this.

One thing you know for sure is that even if a Jewish person knows it is the Mossad, he might not agree to work with you - but he won't turn you in. You have at your disposal a nonrisk recruitment system that actually gives you a pool of millions of Jewish people to tap from outside your own borders. It's much easier to operate with what is available on the spot, and sayanim offer incredible practical support everywhere. But they are never put at risk - nor are they privy to classified information.

Suppose during an operation a katsa suddenly had to come up with an electronics store as a cover. A call to a sayan in that business could bring 50. television sets, 200 VCRs - whatever was needed - from his warehouse to your building, and in next to no time, you'd have a store with $3 or $4 million worth of stock in it.

Since most Mossad activity is in Europe, it may be preferable to have a business address In North America. So, there are address sayanim and telephone sayanim. If a katsa has to give out an address or a phone number, he· can use the sayan's. And if the sayan gets a letter or a phone call, he will know immediately how to proceed. Some business sayanim have a bank of 20 operators answering phones, typing letters, faxing messages, all a front for the Mossad. The joke is that 60 percent of the business of those telephone answering companies in Europe comes from the Mossad. They'd fold otherwise.

The one problem with the system is that the Mossad does not seem to care how devastating it could be to the status of the Jewish people In the diaspora if it was known. The answer you get if you ask is: "So what's the worst that could happen to those Jews? They'd all come to Israel? Great."

Katsas in the stations are in charge of the sayanim, and most active sayanim will be visited by a katsa once every three months or so, which for the katsa usually means between two and four face-to-face meetings a day with sayanim, along with numerous telephone conversations. The system allows the Mossad to work with a skeleton staff. That's why, for example, a KGB station would employ about 100 people, while a comparable Mossad station would need only six or seven.

People make the mistake of thinking the Mossad is at a disadvantage by not having stations in obvious target countries. The United States, for example, has a station in Moscow and the Russians have stations in Washington and New York. But Israel doesn't have a station in Damascus. They don't understand that the Mossad regards the whole world outside Israel as a target, including Europe and the United States. Most of the Arab countries don't manufacture their own weapons. Most don't have high-level military colleges, for example. If you want to recruit a Syrian diplomat, you don't have to do that in Damascus. You can do it in Paris. If you want data on an Arab missile, you get that in Paris or London or the United States where it is made. You can get less information on Saudi Arabia from the Saudis themselves than you can from the Americans. What do the Saudis have? AWACs. Those are Boeing, and Boeing's American. What do you need the Saudis for? The total recruitment in Saudi Arabia during my time with the Institute was one attache in the Japanese embassy. That was it.

And if you want to get to the senior officers, they study in England or the United States. Their pilots train in England, France, and the United States. Their commandos train in Italy and France. You can recruit them there. It's easier and it's less dangerous.

Ran S. also taught his class about "white agents," individuals being recruited, either by covert or direct means, who mayor may not know they are working for Israel. They are always non-Arabs and usually more sophisticated in technical knowledge. The prejudice in Israel is that Arabs don't understand technical things. It shows itself in jokes, like the one about the man selling Arab brains for $150 a pound and Jewish brains for $2 a pound. Asked why the Arab brain was so expensive, he says, "Because it's hardly been used." A widely held perception of Arabs in Israel.

White agents are usually less risky to deal with than "black," or Arab, agents. For one thing, Arabs working abroad. are very likely to be subjected to security by Arab intelligence - and if they .catch you working with one as a black agent, they'll want to kill you. The worst that would happen to a Mossad katsa caught working with a white agent in France is deportation. But the white agent himself could be charged with treason. You do everything you can to protect him, but the main danger is to him. If you're working with an Arab, both of you are in danger.

While our classes at the Academy went on, exercises outside with cars continued apace. We learned a technique called maulter, the unplanned use 0'£ a car in detecting,' or, improvised following. If you have to drive in an area you're unfamiliar with, and you have no pre-planned route, there's a series of procedures - turning left then right, moving, stopping, and so on - to follow, mainly to eliminate coincidence and make certain whether or not you are being followed. We were also frequently reminded that we were not "bolted" to our cars. If we thought we were being followed, but couldn't verify it completely, it might be wise to park, venture out on foot, and take it from there.

Another lecture, by a katsa named Rabitz, explained the Israel Station, or local station, which handles Cyprus, Egypt, Greece, and Turkey. Its katsas are called "hoppers" or "jumpers," because they work out of Tel Aviv headquarters. They recruit by hopping back and forth for a few days at a time, to operate the agents and the sayanim. All these countries are dangerous to operate in because their governments tend to be pro-PLO.

The Israel station is not a popular assignment for katsas. During his lecture on the subject, Ran S. dumped on it. Ironically, he was later appointed its head.

***  

For relaxation, we began competing against 25 students from another course in the school - one for clerks, computer operators, secretaries, and other general staff. They received a basic course in how the organization works and were always far more serious than we were.

In order to keep them off the coveted Ping-Pong table, we used to hide the balls and bats, but they did compete on the basketball court. We cadets played basketball to kill. We had a guy handle the scoreboard and we'd always win. The other team would shout about it, but for a while we had a weekly game against them, every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m.

Our lessons, meanwhile, continued thick and fast. After learning how to work a person after basic contact up to recruitment, we were taught financial guidelines. For example, before committing anything, you had to determine a recruit's financial situation. You didn't want to shower money onto a pauper, since this would immediately raise suspicions. Suppose an agent was going back to a target country, and had to be set up financially. Let's say he was on a two-year contract for which his Mossad salary was $4,000 a month. If that agent could absorb $1,000 a month without it showing or changing his lifestyle, the katsa would open a bank account for him, perhaps in England, and put a full year's salary in It. So the agent would get the $12,000 up front and have $36,000 deposited in his London account. For the second year, assuming a two-year deal, the $12,000 advance would be delivered to him and another $36,000 deposited. So, you're not only providing him day-to-day security, you're providing for his future. You are also tying him closer to you. You're protecting your own interest.

There was also a structure of bonus payments - extra per letter, for example - depending upon the quality of the information or the position of an agent. These ranged from $100 to $1,000 extra per letter on average, but a Syrian minister, say, might receive between $10,000 and $20,000 per communique.

Of the 30 to 35 katsas operating at any given time, each would have at least 20 agents. Each of those 600-plus agents would average at least $3,000 a month, plus $3,000 In bonuses, and many would earn considerably more, which cost the Institute $15 million a month at least just to pay the agents. In addition, there were the costs of recruiting, safe houses, operations, vehicles, and numerous other expenses, all adding up to hundreds of millions a month.

A katsa would spend easily $200 to $300 a day on lunches and dinners, and about $1,000 a day In total expenses. That was another $30,000 to $35,000 a day just to keep the katsas In expenses. And that's not even counting the katsa's salary, which varied from $500 to $1,500 a month, depending on his rank.

Nobody said intelligence comes cheaply.

Next, Dov taught us how to build a "secure route." That means a route someone else is securing. We learned about the tie-in with the yarid (or "country fair") branch of operational security and watched a long training movie on the subject.

Yarid teams consisted of five to seven people. There were at this time a total of three such teams. When they were In Europe, the head of European security was their boss.

The main reason for the lesson was to show what support yarid offered katsas, but also to show them how to secure a route themselves if yarid was not available. [1] After I learned that, a whole new world opened up to me. I used to go into cafes in Tel Aviv, and suddenly I'd notice all this activity on the street that I'd never seen before - police following people. It happens all the time, but unless you're trained in it, you don't see It.

Next came Yehuda Gil's lecture on the subtleties of recruitment. Gil was a legendary katsa, whom Riff introduced as "a master." [2] He began by saying that there are three major "hooks" for recruiting people: money; emotion, be it revenge or ideology; and sex.

"I want you to remember to go slowly and delicately at all times," said Gil. "Pace yourself. You'll have someone, say, from a minority in his country, who has been given a bad deal and wants revenge. He can be recruited. And when you pay him money and he takes the money, you know he's been recruited and he knows he's been recruited. Everybody understands you don't give money for nothing, and nobody expects to get money unless he's expected to give something back.

"And then there's sex. Useful, but it is not regarded as a method of payment, because most people we recruit are men. There is a saying that 'Women give and forgive, men get and forget.' That's why sex is not a method of payment. Money, people don't forget."

Even if something works, Gil said, it doesn't necessarily mean it was the right method. If it's right, it will work every time, but if it's wrong, it will still work sometimes. He told the story of an Arab worker, an oter (or finder) who was supposed to set up a meeting with a subject they wanted to recruit. Gil waited in a car while the oter fetched the subject. Gil's cover story was that he was a business acquaintance. The oter had been working for the Mossad for a long time, yet when he brought the recruit to see Gil in the car, he introduced Gil as Albert and the recruit as Ahmed, then said to Ahmed, "This is the Israeli intelligence guy I was telling you about. Albert, Ahmed is willing to work for you for $2,000 a month. He'll do anything you want."

Oters - always Arabs - are used because there are very few Arabic-speaking katsas, and it's much easier for one Arab to start the initial contact with another. The oter breaks the ice, as it were. After a while, katsas find out just how useful they are.

In Gil's story, the direct technique worked. Ahmed was recruited, but obviously it was not done properly. Gil taught us that life has a flow to it, and when you are recruiting, you must go with it. Things have to occur naturally. For example, suppose you know that a man you want to recruit will be at a Paris bistro on a particular evening. You know he speaks Arabic. Gil would sit beside him and the oter would be sitting a little way down the bar. Suddenly, the oter would notice Gil, say hello, and they'd begin conversing in Arabic. It wouldn't take long for this guy sitting between them to interject. They'd know his background, too, so they'd direct the conversation toward his interests.

Gil might then say to the oter, "You're meeting your girlfriend later?" The oter would reply, "Yes, but she's bringing her girlfriend along and we can't do it in front of her. Why don't you come, too?" Gil would say he couldn't, he was busy. At that point, their subject would more than likely announce that he was free - and so set off on the road to recruitment.

"Think of it this way," Gil went on. "If this was all happening in Hebrew in some bar in Paris, you might have been recruited. People are always drawn to others speaking their language in a foreign country."

The trick of making the initial contact is to make it appear so natural that if the subject looks back at it, nothing seems odd. That way, if it doesn't work, you haven't burned him. He must never be allowed to think of himself as a target. Bui: before you ever approached him in that Paris bistro, you would have turned his file inside out, discovered everything you could about his likes and dislikes, and also about his schedule for that night - as much as you could do to remove the element of chance and, therefore, risk.

Our next major lecture was given by Yetzak Knafy, who brought along a series of charts to explain the logistical support that the Tsomet (katsa recruiting department) receives in operations. It's enormous, beginning with the sayanim, and going on through money, cars, apartments, and so on. Yet the main support is paper backup. The katsa might say he owns a company that manufactures bottles, or that he's an executive with a foreign branch of IBM. That company is a good one; it's so big that you can hide an IBM executive for years. We even had some IBM stores, offering emergency support. We had workers and an office - the whole thing -- and IBM didn't know.

But setting up a business, even a phony one, is not that simple. You need business cards, letterhead, telephone, telex, and more. The Mossad had package companies ready on a shelf, complete shell companies with an address, a registered number, just waiting to come to life. They even kept some money in these companies, enough to file tax returns and avoid raising suspicions. They had hundreds of such companies around the world.

At headquarters, five rooms were filled with the paraphernalia of dummy companies, listed in alphabetical order, and set up in a pull-out box. There were eight rows of shelves, and 60 boxes per shelf, in each of the five rooms. The Information included a history of each company, all its financial statements, a history of its logo, who it was registered with, anything at all that a katsa might be expected to know about the company.

* * *

About six months into the course, we had a mid-term meeting called a bablat, an abbreviation in Hebrew of bilbul baitsim, which means "mixing up the balls," or just talking and talking about everything. It lasted five hours.

Two days before that, we had undergone an exercise in which my colleague Arik F. and I were told to sit in a cafe on Henrietta Sold Street near Kiker Hamdina. I asked Arik If he had come there clean. He said he had. So I said, "Okay, I know I came clean and you say you did, but why is that guy over there looking at us? As far as I'm concerned, this is over. I'm leaving."

Arik said they couldn't leave; they had to wait to be picked up. "If you want to stay, fine," I told him. "I'm gone."

Arik told me I was making a mistake, but I said I'd wait for him at Kiker Hamdina.

I gave him 30 minutes. I figured when I left I would observe the cafe. I had the time, so I did a route, checked I was clean, came back, and went up on the roof of a building where I could watch the restaurant. Ten minutes later the man we'd been waiting for walked in, and two minutes after that, police cars surrounded the place. They dragged the two of them out and beat them senseless. I called in an emergency. I found out later that the whole episode was a joint exercise between the Mossad Academy and the undercover department of the Tel Aviv police. We were the bait.

Arik, 28 at the time, spoke English and looked a lot like kidnapped Church of England envoy Terry Waite. He'd been in military intelligence before he joined the course. He was the biggest liar on the face of the earth. If he said good morning, you had to check out the window first. Arik wasn't beaten that badly in the police incident because he was talking -- lying, no doubt - but talking. Arik knew that if you talked you wouldn't be beaten.

But the other guy, Jacob, kept saying, "I don't know what you want." A big cop slapped him and his head was smashed against the wall. He suffered a hairline fracture of the skull, and was unconscious for two days and in hospital for six weeks. He received his salary for another year, but he left the course.

When we were beaten up, it was like a competition. These cops were out to prove they were better than us. It was worse than really being captured. Commanders on both sides would say, "I bet you can't break my guys." Then, "Oh yeah? How far can I go?"

We complained at the bablat that there was no point in being beaten up so severely. We were told when you fall, don't resist, talk. Your captor won't go to chemicals as long as you're talking. Every time we were on an exercise, there was the danger we'd be caught by the cops. It made us learn to take precautions.

At one point, the class schedule had a lecture from Mark Hessner [3] slated for the next day. It was on mutual operations, something called "Operation Ben Baker," which the Mossad had done in conjunction with French intelligence. My buddies and I decided to get a jump on things by studying the case the night before, so after class that evening, we went back to the Academy and up to Room 6, a safe room on the second floor where the files were stored. It was August 1984, a lovely Friday night, and we actually lost track of the time. It was close to midnight when we left the room and locked it up. We'd left our car in the parking lot near the dining room, and we were heading out that way when we heard a lot of noise from the pool area.

"What the hell is that?" I asked Michel.

"Let's go and see," he said.

"Wait. Wait," said Heim. "Let's go quietly."

"Better yet," I suggested, "let's just go back up to that second- floor window and see what's going on."

The noise continued as we stole back into the Academy, up the stairs, and over to the window in the little bathroom where I had once been held during my pre-course test.

I'll never forget what I saw next. There were about 25 people in and around the pool and none of them had a stitch of clothing on. The second-in-command of the Mossad -- today, he is the head - was there. Hessner. Various secretaries. It was incredible. Some of the men were not a pretty sight, but most of the girls were quite impressive. [ must say they looked much better than they did in uniform! Most of them were female soldiers assigned to the office, and were only 18 or 20 years old.

Some of the partiers were in the water playing, some were dancing, others were on blankets to the left and the right having a fine old time vigorously screwing each other right there. I've never seen anything like it.

"Let's make a list of who's here," I said. Heim suggested we get a camera, but Michel said, "I'm out of here. I want to stay in the office." Yosy agreed, and Heim conceded that taking photos was probably unwise.

We stayed there about 20 minutes. It was the top brass all right, and they were swapping partners. It really shook me. That's sure not what you expect. You look at these people as heroes, you look up to them, and then you see them having a sex party by the pool. Mind you, Heim and Michel didn't seem surprised.

We left quietly, went to our car, and pushed it all the way to the gate. We didn't turn it on until we were through the gate and on down the hill.

We checked up on this later and apparently these parties were going on all the time. The area around the pool is the most secure place in Israel. You don't get in there unless you're from the Mossad. What's the worst thing that could happen? A cadet sees you. So what? You can always deny it.

The next day in class, it was strange to sit there and take a lecture from Hessner after what we'd seen him doing the night before. I remember I asked him a question. I had to. "How's your back?" I said. "Why?" he replied. "You walk like you strained it," I said. Heim looked at me then, and his chin almost hit the floor.

After Hessner's rather long, dreary lecture, we sat through another about the military structure of Syria. It's hard not to fall asleep in those lectures. If you were out on the Golan Heights you'd be interested, but all that stuff about where the Syrians were deployed was rather boring, although the general picture sank in, and that was all they really wanted to happen.

* * *

Next on the course was a new subject on securing meetings in base countries. The first lecture included a Mossad -- produced training film on the subject. The movie didn't have much impact on us. It had all these people sitting in restaurants. What's important is learning how to pick a restaurant or when to have a meeting. Before any meeting, you check to make sure nobody else is watching. If you're meeting an agent, you want him to enter first and sit down, so you can make sure he's clean. Every move you make in this business has rules. If you break them, you could be a dead man. If you wait for your agent in the restaurant, you're a sitting target. Even if he gets up to go to the washroom, you'd better not wait for him to come back.

That happened in Belgium once when a katsa named Tsadok Offir met an Arab agent. After they'd sat for several minutes, the Arab said he had to go and get something. When he came back, Offir was still sitting there. The agent pulled out a gun and filled Offir with lead. Offir miraculously survived, and the agent was later killed in Lebanon. Offir tells the story to anybody who will listen to show just how dangerous a simple slip can be.

We were constantly being taught how to secure ourselves. They kept saying, "What you're learning now is how to ride a bicycle, so that once you get out there, you won't have to think about it."

The idea of recruitment is like rolling a rock down a hill. We used the word ledarder, meaning to stand on top of a hill and push a boulder down. That's how you recruit. You take somebody and get him gradually to do something illegal or immoral. You push him down the hill. But if he's on a pedestal, he's not going to help you. You can't use him. The whole purpose is to use people. But in order to use them, you have to mold them. If you have a guy who doesn't drink, doesn't want sex, doesn't need money, has no political problems, and is happy with life, you can't recruit him. What you're doing is working with traitors. An agent is a traitor, no matter how much he rationalizes it. You're dealing with the worst kind of person. We used to say we didn't blackmail people. We didn't have to. We manipulated them.

Nobody said it was a pretty business.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See APPENDIX I

2. See PROLOGUE: OPERATION SPHINX; Chapter 12: CHECKMATE; Chapter 15: OPERATION MOSES

3. See Chapter 9: STRELLA
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:07 am

5. Rookies

AT LAST. AT THE BEGINNING of March 1984, it was time to get out of the classroom.

There were still 13 in the course at this point, and we were broken into three teams, each based in a different apartment in and around Tel Aviv. My team stayed in an apartment - in Givataim; another was downtown near Dizengoff Street; the third on Ben-Gurion Avenue in the northern part of the city.

Each apartment was to be both a safe house and a station. My place was a fourth-floor walk-up with a balcony off the living room, another balcony off the kitchen, two bedrooms, a bathroom, and a separate water closet. The sparsely furnished apartment belonged to a katsa who was abroad.

Shai Kauly was in charge of my safe house/station. The other rookies assigned to it were Tsvi G., the psychologist; Arik F.; Avigdor A., my buddy; and another man named Ami, a highly strung linguist who, among his other perceived faults, was a harping nonsmoker in an environment where chain-smoking was considered part of the rites of passage.

Ami, a bachelor from Haifa, had movie-star looks and was terrified that somebody would beat him up. I don't know how he ever passed the basic testing.

The five of us arrived about 9 am., our suitcases packed, and $300 cash in our pockets, a fair amount of money considering that a rookie salary at the time was $500 a month.

We resented having Ami with us because he was such a wimp. And so we began chatting about what to do when the police came, how to prepare for the pain, all designed to make Ami more uncomfortable than he already was. Bastards that we were, we enjoyed that.

When a knock came at the door, Ami shot straight up, unable to hide his tension. The caller was Kauly, who was carrying a large manila envelope for each of us. Ami shrieked at him, "I don't want any more of this!" Kauly told him to go back and see Araleh Sheri, head of the Academy.

Ami was later sent to join the Dizengoff Street group, but when the police arrived there one night and kicked in the door, he stood up, said, "I've had enough of this," and just walked out, never to return.

We were down to a dozen.

Kauly's envelopes contained our assignments. My task was to make contact with a man named Mike Harari, a name that meant nothing to me at the time; I was also to gather information on a man known to his friends as "Mikey," an ex-volunteer pilot during the War of Independence in the late 1940s.

Kauly told us we'd have to help each other complete the assignments. That entailed devising a plan of operations and a routine for our apartment security. He gave each of us some documentation - I was "Simon" again - and some report forms.

First we had to devise a slick for hiding our papers, then develop a cover story to explain why we were all in the apartment, should the police raid it. The best way to do that was to invent a "chain reason." I might say I was from Holon and had come to Tel Aviv where I met Jack, the apartment owner, at a cafe. "Jack said I could use it because he was going abroad for two months," I'd say. "Then I met Arik in a restaurant. I'd known him from the army in Haifa, so he's staying here." Avigdor would be Arik's friend, and they would have a story, and so on, so that it would at least sound plausible. As for Kauly, we told him he'd have to invent his own cover story.

We made a slick out of our living-room table, one of those frame tables with a glass top over a wooden panel, by care fully fitting a second "false" panel. You simply lifted the glass and moved the top piece of wood. It was readily accessible, and a place where few people would think to look.

We also agreed on a special knock - the standard two knocks, then one knock, two knocks, one knock - to signal that it was one of our own at the door. Before returning to the apartment, we would call and give a coded message. Or, if nobody was home, the all-dear signal was a yellow towel hanging on a clothesline outside the kitchen balcony.

The mood was terrific. We felt as if we were walking on air. We were doing real work, even if it was still only training.

Before Kauly left that day, we had prepared our plans for approaching our subjects and gathering information about them. Since they had addresses, observation was the first step. And so, Avigdor went to watch Harari's house for me, while I went to watch Arik's assigned contact, the man who owned a company called Bukis Toys.

All I had on Harari was his name and address. He wasn't in the phone book. However, at the library, I found Harari listed in the Who's Who for Israel. There was little background, only that he was president of Migdal Insurance, one of the largest such firms in the country, with headquarters near a district called Hakirya. Many government buildings are located there. The entry indicated also that Harari's wife worked as a librarian at the Tel Aviv university.

I decided to apply for a job with Migdal Insurance. I was sent to their manpower department and, waiting in line, watched a man of about my own age working in a nearby office. I heard another employee call him "Yakov."

I got up, walked over to the office, and said, "Yakov?"

"Yes. Who are you?" he asked.

"I'm Simon. I remember you. We were at Tel Hashomer," I said referring to the main military recruitment base where all Israelis go.

"What year were you there?" he asked.

Instead of answering him directly, I said, "I'm a 203," the start of a serial number that represents a recruiting segment of time, rather than a specific year or month.

"I'm a 203, too," said Yakov.

"Air force?"

"No. Tanks."

"Oh, you ended up pongos," I said, laughing. (Pongos is a Hebrew expression that plays on the word fungus to mean people inside a tank, which is always dark and often damp.)

I said I knew Harari slightly and asked Yakov if they had any job openings.

"Oh yes, they're recruiting salesmen," Yakov told me.

"Is Harari still president?"

"No, no," he replied, naming another man.

"Oh. What's Harari doing now?"

"He's a diplomat," said Yakov. "And he also has an import-export business in the Kur Building."

That rang a bell because Avigdor had reported seeing a Mercedes with a white diplomatic plate at Harari's house. At the time, I was puzzled. For a person with a Hebrew name to associate with foreign diplomats in Israel was very suspicious. All diplomats in this country are considered spies. That's why an Israeli soldier who is hitchhiking can't accept a ride from someone with diplomatic plates; he'd be court-martialed if he did. And when Avigdor saw the Mercedes at Harari's house, we didn't know it was his car. We thought it belonged to a visitor.

Yakov and I chatted for a few more minutes until a woman came over and told me it was my turn for the job interview. Not wanting to raise any suspicions, I went in to the interview but deliberately flubbed it.

So far, I knew where Harari's wife worked - at Tel Aviv University - and that Harari himself was a diplomat. But where? And for whom? I could tail his car, but if Harari was a diplomat, he'd probably had intelligence training; I didn't want to get burned on my first exercise.

On the second day, I told Kauly that I planned to complete my exercises one at a time. First I'd make contact with Harari; then I'd find out who Mikey was.

Every time we walked out of the apartment, it was possible we were being followed. If that happened, you had to warn the others in the safe house that it wasn't safe anymore. Of course, each of us knew where the others were going because we filed our reports to Shai Kauly.

At that point, I could do APAM in my sleep. On the fourth day, as I was heading to the Kur Building, I noticed I'd been picked up by someone near the Hakirya district. My regular security route was to take the bus from Givataim, go to Derah Petha Tikvah, and get off at the corner of Kaplan Street, which cuts right through the Hakirya.

That day I got off the bus, did a circle - having done the same thing before boarding it in Givataim -looked to the right, and saw nothing. Glancing left, however, I noticed some men in a car in a parking lot. They just looked out of place, so I thought to myself, okay, I'll play them and make them eat dirt.

I headed south on Derah Petha Tikvah, a major artery with three lanes in both directions, which meant the car in the parking lot would have to get ahead of me or they would lose me.

I reached a point where a bridge crosses over Petha Tikvah to the Kalka Building. It was about 11 :45 a.m., and traffic was badly jammed. I walked up onto the bridge, stopped, and could see the driver of the car looking up at me, not expecting me to be looking down. There was another man behind me, but he couldn't approach me without my noticing him. On the other side of the bridge, there was yet another man ready to follow me if I turned north, and a third man ready to follow if I went south. From my vantage point on the bridge, I could see all of this clearly.

There was an area under the bridge where cars could make U-turns. Instead of crossing the bridge, I made a big display of slapping my head, as if I'd forgotten something, then turned around and walked back to Kaplan Street -- slowly for them to catch up. I chuckled to myself when I heard cars honking from under the bridge as the tailing car tried to negotiate a V-turn in heavy traffic.

On Kaplan, all they could do was follow me in a line. I went halfway up the street to a military post in front of the "Victor Gate" (named after my one-time sergeant major), then crossed through the traffic to a kiosk where I bought a Danish and gazoz, flavored soda water.

Standing there, I could see the car slowly approaching. Suddenly I realized that the driver was Dov L. Finishing my snack, I walked up to the car - by now hopelessly stalled in traffic - and used its hood to hoist myself up onto the sidewalk before walking away. I could hear Dov behind me honking in a beep-beep, pattern as if to say, "All right. One for you. You got me."

I was elated. It was really fun. Dov said to me later that nobody had ever nailed him so hard, and he was frankly embarrassed.

After making sure I was clean, I took a cab to another part of Tel Aviv where I would do a route and be sure that it hadn't all been a trick just to make me relax. Then I went back to the Kur Building, and at the information desk said I had an appointment with Mike Harari. I was directed to the fourth floor, where a small sign read something like Import/ Export Shipping.

I had decided to go during the lunch break, because in Israel, management rarely stays in for lunch. All I wanted at this stage was to talk to a secretary and get a phone number, plus a bit of information. If Harari was there, I'd have to play it by ear.

Fortunately, there was only the secretary. She told me that the firm handled its own products, mainly South American, but it sometimes took hitchhikers, or partial shipments from others, to complete a cargo.

I told her I'd heard from the insurance company that Harari worked there.

"No, no," she said. "He's a partner, but he doesn't work here. He's the ambassador for Panama."

"Excuse me," I said (a bad response, but I'd been caught off guard), "I thought he was Israeli?"

"He is," she said. "He's also the honorary ambassador for Panama."

And so I left, did my route, and wrote a complete report about the day's activities.

When Kauly arrived and asked me what I had, he wanted to know how I planned to make contact.

"I'm going to go to the Panamanian embassy."

"Why?" said Kauly.

I had already devised a plan. The Pearl Archipelago off Panama used to house a rich industry in cultured pearls. In Israel, the Red Sea is very conducive to growing pearls. It is quiet, has the appropriate salt content, and across the way in the Persian Gulf there are pearl oysters In abundance. I had learned all about this - particularly the process for creating cultured pearls - at the library. I would go to the embassy, ostensibly as a partner of a wealthy American businessman who wanted to start a pearl farm in Eilat. Because of the high quality of Panamanian pearls, they'd want to bring a whole container of pearl oysters to Israel to start the farm. The plan would indicate that the people involved had a lot of money and were serious - not looking for a quick scam - since there'd be no return for at least three years.

Kauly approved it.

Now I had to get an appointment with Harari, rather than the official Panamanian ambassador. When I phoned, I identified myself as Simon Lahav. I said I wanted to propose an investment in Panama. The secretary suggested I meet with an attache. But I said, "No, I need someone with business experience," to which she replied, "Perhaps you could meet with Mr. Harari." We made an appointment for the next day.

I told her I could be reached with specific details at the Sheraton. I had been registered there under the Mossad arrangement with security at various hotels: officers are registered and assigned a room number for messages.

Later that day, a message was left for me to meet Harari at the embassy the next evening at 6 p.m. That seemed weird, because everything closes at five.

Panama's embassy is on the beach south of the Sede Dov Airport, in an apartment building on the first floor above ground level. I arrived smartly dressed in a suit and ready to do business. I had requested a passport because I was not appearing as an Israeli, but as a businessman from British Columbia, Canada. I had already telephoned the mayor of Eilat, Rafi Hochman, whom I'd known when I lived in Eilat for a year. We had been in the same high school class. Of course, I didn't tell Hochman who I was, but I did discuss the proposal with him in case Harari decided to follow it up.

Unfortunately, Kauly didn't get the passport I needed, so I went without it. I figured what the hell, if he asked, I'd tell him I'm a Canadian, that I don't normally carry my passport around, it was in the hotel.

I arrived at the embassy to find Harari the only one there. We sat facing each other in a lavish office, Harari behind his large desk, listening to me describe my plan.

His first question was, "Are you bank-backed, or is it individual investors?"

I said it was venture capital, regarded as high-risk. Harari smiled. I was ready to go into great detail about oysters, but Harari asked, "How much money are you talking about?"

"Whatever it takes, up to $15 million. But we have a lot of leeway. We estimate the operating costs for three years won't exceed $3.5 million."

"So why such a high ceiling if you have such a low cost?" asked Harari.

"Because the potential returns are very high and my partner is good at raising money."

Now I was anxious to get into the technical aspects of the plan, to throw in the name of the mayor of Eilat, the lot. But Harari cut right through that, leaned across the desk, and said, "For the right price, you can get just about anything you want in Panama."

This presented me with a real problem. I was going in to talk to a guy and start his roll down the hill, get him dirty slowly. I went in playing the clean guy, but before I could open my mouth, he was already rolling me down the hill. I was in an embassy talking to the honorary ambassador. He didn't even know me and already we were talking about bribes.

And so, I replied, "What do you mean?"

"Panama is a funny country," Harari said. "It's not really a country. It's more like a business. I know the right people or - to put it another way - the storekeeper. One hand washes the other in Panama. Today, you might need to negotiate for your pearl business. We might need something else from you tomorrow. It's a business agreement, but we like to deal in long terms."

Harari paused and said, "But before we go any further, can I see your identification?"

"What sort of identification?"

"Well, your Canadian passport."

"I don't carry my passport around."

"In Israel you should always carry your ID with you. Call me when you have it, arid we'll talk," he said. "Now, as you know, the embassy is closed."

And he got up and walked me to the door without saying another word.

I had done badly when Harari asked for my passport. I had hesitated, almost stammered. I probably lit up his security lights and he became wary. Suddenly he'd looked very dangerous.

I went back to the apartment, following the usual security procedures, and finished my report about 10 p.m., at which point Kauly came in specifically to read it.

Kauly left, and hadn't been gone long when the police arrived. They kicked in the door of the apartment and the entire frame buckled with it. We rookies were all taken to the police station in Ramat Gan and put in separate cells for interrogation. This was once again to instill in us that, when working in a station, our biggest enemy could be the local authorities. If you were being followed, for example, you had to state in your report if you thought it was the locals or not.

We were held overnight, but when we got back to the apartment, the door had already been fixed. About 10 minutes later, the phone rang. It was Araleh Sherf, head of the school. He said, "Victor? Drop everything you're doing. I want you here. Now."

I took a cab to the corner near the Country Club, then got out and walked up to the school. Something wasn't right, I knew. Maybe they'd already found out the toy manufacturer was ex-Mossad, for example, as was Avigdor's contact, the owner of a booze factory.

Sherf said, "Let me put it to you straight. Mike Harari used to be head of Metsada. His only fuckup was in Lillehammer when he was the commander.

"Shai Kauly was very proud of you. He passed your report on to me, but according to you, Harari doesn't sound too good. He sounds like a crook. So I called him last night and asked him for his response. I read him your report. He told me that everything you said is wrong." Sherf then proceeded to tell me Harari's account.

According to him, I had arrived, waited 20 minutes until Harari was ready to see me, then started talking in a bad English accent. He said he spotted me for a phony and kicked me out. He said he didn't know anything about the pearl story and accused me of making the whole thing up.

"Harari was my commander," said Sherf. "You want me to believe you, a rookie, or him?"

l felt the blood rushing to my head. I was getting angry.

My memory for names is imperfect, but my reports were always damn near perfect. I had turned on the tape recorder inside my attache case before beginning the meeting with Harari, and now I handed the tape to Sherf. "Here's the conversation. You tell me who you believe. I copied it word for word from the tape."

With that, Sherf took the tape and left the office. He returned 15 minutes later.

"Do you want a drive back to the apartment?" he said. "There was obviously a misunderstanding here. Now, here's the money for your team in these envelopes."

"Can I have the tape?" I said. "There are some things on it from another operation."

"What tape?" said Sherf.

"The one I just gave you."

"Look," he said. "I know it was a hard night for you at the police station. I'm sorry I had to drag you all the way up here just to get the money for your team. But that's the way it is sometimes."

In a later conversation, Kauly told me he was happy to hear I'd made a tape. "Otherwise," he said, "you'd be out on your ass and probably out of the course."

I never saw or heard the tape again, but I learned my lesson well. That put a little blotch on my vision of the Mossad. Here's the big hero. I'd heard a lot about Harari's exploits before, but only by his code name, "Cobra." Then I found out what he really was.

When the United States invaded General Manuel Noriega's Panama shortly after midnight on December 20, 1989, early reports said that Harari had been captured, too. He was described in wire service news stories as a "shadowy former officer of Israel's Mossad intelligence service who became one of Noriega's most influential advisers." An official for the new, American-installed government expressed his delight, saying that next to Noriega, Harari was "the most important person in Panama" The celebration was premature, however. They caught Noriega, but Harari disappeared, showing up again shortly afterward in Israel where he remains.

* * *

I still had my other project to complete, the gathering of information on the former flyer named "Mikey." My father, Syd Osten (he'd anglicized Ostrovsky), who now lives in Omaha, Nebraska, had been a captain in Israel's volunteer air force, so I was familiar with their flamboyant escapades and heroism during the independence war. They'd been mainly flyers for the U.S., British, and Canadian air forces during World War II who'd later volunteered to fight for Israel.

Many of them were based at the Sede Dov Airport, where my father had been base commander. I got many of their names from the archives, but I could find no reference to a man named "Mikey."

Next, I called security chief Mousa M. for a registration at the Hilton Hotel. I then got some cardboard and tripods for signs, and called the liaison office of the air force to say I was a Canadian film-maker wanting to make a documentary on the volunteers who had helped establish the state of Israel. I said I would be at the Hilton for two days and would like to meet as many of the men as possible.

Only a month before, the air force had had an awards ceremony, so their address list was up-to-date. The liaison man confirmed that he'd reached 23 of them and about 15 had promised to show up at the Hilton. If I needed anything else, I was to call.

I took the cardboard and made signs that read Blazing Skies: The Story of the War of Independence. Above that, I wrote, Canadian Documentary Film Board.

On the Friday at 10 a.m., Avigdor and I walked into the Hilton. Avigdor was wearing coveralls and carrying the signs. I was wearing a business suit. Avigdor set up one of the signs at the front entrance, telling which room the meeting was in, then another down the hallway. Nobody from the hotel even asked us what we were doing.

I met with the men for about five hours, a tape recorder on the table. One of them - without realizing it - was even telling me stories about my father.

At one point, with two or three conversations going on simultaneously, I said, "Mikey? Who is Mikey?", even though nobody had mentioned his name.

"Oh, that's Jake Cohen," said one of the men. "He was a doctor in South Africa."

They then proceeded to talk for a while about "Mikey," who now spent half his time in Israel, the other half in the United States. Soon, I thanked the men and said I had to go.

I didn't give out a single business card. I didn't make any promises. I got everybody's names. They all invited me to lunch. It was like jelly in a mold: You could do anything you wanted with it. But that was all I did.

I then went back to the apartment, wrote my report, and said to Kauly, "If there's something in this tape you don't want me to write, tell me now."

Kauly laughed.

* * *  

As we were completing this portion of the course in March 1984, Araleh Sheri volunteered our services to put on a stage show directed by acclaimed Israeli movie producer Amos Etinger at the Museum of Man Concert Hall in Tel Aviv for the annual Mossad convention, which was to be held in another day and a half. Tamar Avidar, Etinger's wife, is a well-known newspaper columnist who was also Israel's cultural attache to Washington at one time.

The event was one of those rare occasions when the Mossad actually did something publicly involving outside people, although these outsiders were perhaps more like its extended family - mainly politicians, military intelligence, old-timers and several newspaper editors.

We were exhausted. We still had reports to do for Kauly, and we'd had very little sleep the night before, because we were rehearsing for the big show. Yosy had suggested our group go to his house to grab some sleep because we had to stay together. Then Yosy said there was a woman down the street he'd promised to visit. So he didn't get any sleep at all.

I said to him, "You're quite newly married. You're just about to have a baby. Why did you get married? You never rest. You're like a fish in water. At least. part of you is always swimming."

He explained that his in-laws had a store in Kiker Hamdina Square (now similar to New York's posh Fifth Avenue), so money was no problem. Also, he was Orthodox, so his parents expected a grandchild. "Does that answer your question?" Yosy asked.

"In part," I replied. "Don't you love your wife?"

"At least twice a week," he said.

The only one competing with Yosy for sexual prowess was Heim. He was a wonder. Yosy was very smart, but not Heim. I never understood how the Mossad recruited somebody as stupid as Heim. He had a lot of street smarts, but that was about it. All he wanted to do was out-screw Yosy. And Jimmy Durante would have beaten Heim in a beauty contest. He had this incredibly big schnozzle. But he went for quantity, not quality.

Many people, when they know you work for the Mossad, are impressed. It shows you have a lot of power. These guys were doing their thing by using their Mossad connection to impress women. That was dangerous. That was breaking ail the rules. But that was their game. They were always boasting about their conquests.

Heim was married, and he and his wife often came to our house for parties. His wife told Bella, my wife, once that she wasn't worried about Heim because he was "the most faithful person in the world." I was astonished to hear that.

To me, Yosy's most shocking conquest occurred in the fourteenth floor "silent room," at headquarters in Tel Aviv, the room used to call agents. The phone system had a bypass setup whereby a katsa could call his agent in, say, Lebanon, but for anyone tracing the call, it would appear to have originated in London, Paris, or some other European capital.

When the room was in use, a red light was turned on -- rather appropriately for this occasion - and no one could enter. Yosy brought a secretary to the room, a serious breach of the rules, and seduced her while he was actually speaking with his agent in Lebanon. To prove he'd done it, he told Heim he would leave the woman's panties under a monitor in the room. Later, Heim went in, and sure enough, found the panties. He took them to the woman and said, "Are these yours?"

Embarrassed, she said no, but Heim tossed them onto her desk and left, saying, "Don't get cold."

Everyone in the building knew about it. By being straight, I missed out on a lot of contacts. There was a bond developed between men who screwed around. What disappointed me was that I'd thought I was entering Israel's Olympus, but actually found myself in Sodom and Gomorrah. It carried through the entire work. Virtually everyone was tied to everyone else through sex. It was a whole system of favors. I owe you. You owe me. You help me. I'll help you. That was how katsas advanced, by screwing their way to the top.

Most of the secretaries in the building were very pretty. That's how they were selected. But it got to the point where they were hand-me-downs; it went with the job. Nobody screwed his own secretary, though. That wasn't good for work. You had combatants who were away for two, three, even four years. The katsas who ran them in Metsada were the only link between them and their families. There was weekly contact with the wives, and after a while the contact became more than conversation, and they ended up having sex with the wives.

This was the guy you trusted with your life, but you'd better not trust him with your wife. You'd be in an Arab country, and he'd be seducing her. It was so common that if you asked to work for Metsada they used to say the question was, "Why, are you horny?"

The rookies' stage show was called "The Shadows," and it was a spy story played completely behind three large screens, with lights shining through to cast everything in silhouette. Because we were to go on to become katsas, our faces couldn't be revealed to a general audience.

The play opened with a belly dancer and the appropriate Turkish music, with a man carrying an attache case passing by on the screen. That was an inside joke. They say you can tell a katsa by the three S's: Samsonite luggage, Seven Star (a leather-bound diary), and a Seiko watch.

The next scene showed a recruitment operation. Then there was a skit about opening the diplomatic pouches, after which the scene shifted to a London apartment with a man sitting in one room talking and in the next room (or, in this case, the next screen) a second man with earphones listening in on the conversation.

That was followed by the depiction of a London party, with Arabs in their headdresses shown in silhouette. They were all drinking and becoming more and more friendly. On the next screen, a katsa was meeting with Arabs on the street. They were exchanging Samsonite cases.

At the end, the entire cast walked up to the screens, joined hands, and· sang the Hebrew song "Waiting for the Other Day," the musical equivalent of the old saying "Next year in Jerusalem," a traditional wish from Jews before the formation of Israel.

Two days later we held a graduation party barbecue in the open garden area of an inner court at the school, right next to the Ping-Pong room. Our wives, instructors, everyone directly involved was there.

We had finally made it.

It was March 1984, and we were one course down, two to go.
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Re: By Way of Deception: A Devastating Insider's Portrait of

Postby admin » Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:13 am

PART II: INSIDE AND OUT

6. The Belgian Table


IN APRIL 1984, the members of my group weren't katsas yet, but we were no longer cadets, either. Essentially, we were junior katsas or trainees, still facing a stint in headquarters and then the second intelligence course before being able to call ourselves katsas.

I was assigned to research. As Shai Kauly explained the next morning, the trainees would spend the next year or so rotating from one department to another every couple of months, learning the whole operation to prepare for our second course.

After a long discussion, punctuated by the usual joking, smoking, and coffee guzzling, Kauly announced that Aharon Shahar, the head of Komemiute (formerly caned Metsada, but changed along with the other departmental names when a code book was lost in the London station in July 1984), wanted to speak to us. He chose two of us to join his department: Tsvi G., the psychologist; and Amiram, a quiet, likable man who had joined the office directly from the army as a lieutenant colonel. These two men were to become case officers for combatants.

Komemiute, which translates as "independence with head erect," operates almost like a Mossad within the Mossad, a highly secretive department that handles the combatants, the real "spies," who are Israelis sent to Arab countries under deep cover. There is a small internal unit within this department called kidon or "bayonet," divided into three teams of about 12 men each. They are the assassins, euphemistically called "the long arm of Israeli justice." Normally, there are two such teams training in Israel and one out on an operation abroad. They know nothing about the rest of the Mossad and don't even know each other's real names.

The combatants, on the other hand, work closely together in pairs. One is a target-country combatant, his partner a base-country combatant. They do not do any spying inside friendly countries like England, but they might operate a business together there. When needed, the target-country combatant goes into a target country, using the company as his cover, while his partner, the base-country combatant, acts as his lifeline and gives whatever support is needed.

Their role has changed over the years as Israel itself has evolved. At one time, the Mossad had people working for long periods of time in Arab countries, but often they were there too long and got burned. They used to rely on "Arabists" for that, Israelis who could speak and pose as Arabs. In the early days of the country, when many Jews from Arab countries were coming to Israel, there was no shortage of Arabists. This is no longer true, and Arabic learned in school is not considered good enough for deep cover.

Now, most combatants pose as Europeans. They sign up for a four-year stint. It is crucial for cover that they have an actual business that will allow them to travel at any time on short notice. The Mossad sets them up with a partner - the base-country combatant. They actually run the business. It is not just a cover story, but a real one - usually dealing in import/export sales.

About 70 percent of the base-country businesses are in Canada. The combatants' only contact with the office is through their case officer. Each case officer operates four or five sets of combatants, no more.

There is a branch in Komemiute where a group of about 20 business experts work. They analyze each company and each market, passing this information to the case officer who, in turn, advises the combatants how to operate the business.

Combatants are recruited from the general Israeli public. They are people from all walks of life - doctors, lawyers, engineers, academics - people who are willing to give four years of their lives to serve their country. Their families are paid an average Israeli salary as compensation, but a bonus for overseas work is put in a separate account for the combatant. At the end of four years, they'll have $20,000 to $30,000 in this account.

Combatants do not gather direct intelligence - actual physical observations, such as movement of arms or the readiness of hospitals for war - but they do gather "fiber" intelligence, which means the observation of economics, rumors, feelings, morale, and such. They can come and go easily and observe these things without any real risk to themselves. They do not broadcast reports from a target country, but they sometimes deliver things there - money, messages. Many bridges In Arab countries had bombs planted In the concrete by combatants during their construction - all combatants are trained In demolition techniques. In the case of war, these bridges could be easily demolished by a combatant sent in to detonate the explosives.

In any event, after Tsvi and Amiram had been assigned to Komemlute, Shai Kauly had a message for the rest of us. It had to do with our promised holiday.

"As you know," he said, "every plan is a base for change. I know you are all anxious for your holiday, but before you go on it you have something else to do. You'll be the first course to receive intensive training on the total use of the office computer. That will take no more than three weeks, and after that you can have what is left of your holiday."

We learned to expect this in the Mossad. There were times a holiday would be coming up and we'd be told we could leave Friday at noon. Then noon would come and somebody would say they needed us, but just for the next 24 hours. Then we'd have 20 minutes to phone home and everybody would rush to the phone.

For full-fledged katsas, there was a message system that would kick in on request, conveying something brief, such as "Hi, I'm from the office. Your husband won't be coming home as planned. He'll contact you as soon as he can. If you should have any problems in the interim, please call Jakob."

It was done deliberately. You can't imagine the importance sex plays in the life of a katsa. The whole uncertainty factor meant total freedom. If a katsa ran into a soldier girl and wanted to spend the weekend with her, well, his wife was quite used to the fact that he might not be home. That kind of freedom was openly desired. But the real joke was that you couldn't be a katsa if you weren't married. You couldn't go abroad. They said that someone who wasn't married would be running around and might meet a girl who had been planted. On the other hand, everybody else was screwing around, making a real case for blackmail, and they knew it. It was always a total mystery to me.

For the computer course, one of the rooms on the second floor of the Academy had been cleared out and tables arranged in a C-shape with consoles for everyone to work at. The instructor projected images on the wall screen for all to see: we learned first how to fill in the personnel data file of a subject according to the "carrot page," an orange page containing a series of questions that had to be answered before you could access the computer system. These training consoles were the real thing, tied in directly with headquarters, giving us access to real files, teaching us how to operate the existing program, finding and retrieving data according to different cuts of interest.

One memorable episode during the course involved a system called ksharim ("knots"), which means the records of an individual's contacts. Arik F. sat down at the instructor's console one day when she was not there and keyed in "Arafat," and then "ksharim." Because Aratat was PLO, he had priority on the computer. The higher the priority of the person you were asking about, the more quickly you'd be answered.

Priorities don't come much higher than Arafat, but the real problem was his hundreds of thousands of ties, so when the computer began running vast lists of names on the screen, the system became so overloaded that everyone else's computers stopped. There was so much data for the computer to find that it could do nothing else. Arik effectively shut down the Mossad computer for eight hours; at the time the system had no way to stop or override commands.

Since then, the system has been changed so that a limit of 300 listings is placed on any single request, and requests must be more specific. Rather than just asking for all of Arafat's contact listings, for example, you'd have to ask just for his Syrian contacts.

* * *

After the computer course and what was left of my vacation - three days - my first assignment was research, at the Saudi Arabian desk, under a woman named Aerna, which was near the Jordanian desk headed by Ganit. Neither was regarded as an important desk. The Mossad then had a single source in Saudi Arabia, a man in the Japanese embassy. Everything else for the region came from newspapers, magazines and other media, plus extensive communications interference orchestrated by Unit 8200.

Aerna was busy putting together a book on the family tree of the Saudi Arabian royal family. She was also gathering information on a proposed second oil pipeline across the country which the Iraqis wanted to patch into when it was built, so that they could pump out their oil and sell it to pay for their war effort against Iran. Because of the war, it was extremely difficult to transport the oil safely by ship through the Persian Gulf. We saw interesting reports about Saudi Arabia from British Intelligence. They wrote extremely good reports, which were really political analyses of a situation, never real intelligence. The British were very bad as far as sharing intelligence went. One of their reports said that the Saudis felt the oil situation was going to get better; therefore they should build this second pipeline. But the Brits were saying there was going to be a glut, and the Saudi economy would suffer once they ran out of cash to support their extensive free hospitalization and education systems.

We took the Brits seriously, but everyone in the building used to say they were probably deluded because of "the Bitch." That's what they always called Margaret Thatcher inside the Mossad. They had her tagged as an anti-Semite. There was one simple question asked when anything happened: "Is it good for the Jews or not?" Forget about policies, or anything else. That was the only thing that counted, and depending on the answer, people were called anti-Semites, whether deservedly or not.

We used to receive long sheets of paper that resembled white carbon paper, with conversations from tapped phone calls typed on them, conversations between the Saudi king and his relatives, already translated. We'd get calls where a prince was talking to a relative in Europe. He'd say he was out of cash and was putting someone else on the line to work something out. The next one would explain that there was a ship headed for Amsterdam carrying millions of gallons of oil, and he would instruct the relative to change the registration to the prince and put the money in his Swiss account. It was unbelievable how much money the Saudis were shifting around so casually.

In one memorable conversation, Arafat called to solicit the king's help because he couldn't get through to Assad in Syria. So the king called Assad, flattering him with terms such as "Father of all Arabs," and "Son of the Holy Sword." While Assad took the Saudi king's call, he still wouldn't agree to accept Arafat's.

One man I ran into at this time was named Efraim (Effy for short), a former liaison man to the CIA when he was stationed in Washington for the Mossad. Efraim used to boast that it was he who had brought down Yitzhak Rabin in 1977, after only three years as the country's Labor prime minister. The Mossad did not like Rabin. The former Israeli ambassador to the United States, he had left that job in 1974 and come back to take over the party and succeed Golda Meir as prime minister. Rabin demanded raw data from intelligence, rather than the distilled version normally offered, making it much more difficult for Mossad to use their information to set the agenda the way they wanted.

In December 1976, Rabin and his cabinet resigned after he had forced the three ministers of the National Religious Party out of the government following their abstinence on a Knesset vote of confidence. After that, Rabin remained prime minister in an interim government until the national Knesset elections in May 1977, when Menachem Begin became prime minister, much to the delight of the Mossad. What had really finished Rabin, however, was a "scandal" reported by well-known Israeli journalist Dan Margalit, shortly before the elections.

It was against the law for an Israeli citizen to hold a bank account in a foreign country. Rabin's wife had an account in New York with less than $10,000 in it; she used it when they traveled there even though she was entitled, as the prime minister's wife, to have all her expenses paid by the government. Still, the Mossad knew about the bank account, and Rabin knew they knew, but he didn't take it seriously. He should have.

When the time was right, Margalit was tipped off that Rabin had a foreign account. According to Efraim, When Margalit flew to the United states- to check out the story, he had supplied him with all the necessary documentation on the account. The subsequent story, and scandal, were instrumental in helping Begin defeat Rabin. Rabin was an honest man, but the Mossad didn't like him. So they got him. Efraim bragged constantly about being the man who brought him down. I have never heard anyone contradict him.

During the first course, students were taken on a tour of Israeli Aeronautical Industries (IAI). Through the Saudi desk, I learned that the Israelis were selling IAI reserve fuel tank pilons through a third country (I don't know which one) to Saudi Arabia, allowing their fighter jets to carry enough extra fuel for extended flights, should the need arise. Israel also had a contract to supply the same reserve tanks to the United States.

The Saudis, figuring they were paying too much under this arrangement, turned to the Americans and asked if they could buy the pilons from them. Israel stood on its hind legs and hollered no! The whole Jewish lobby swung into action to oppose it because it would have given the Saudi F-16s the capability of attacking Israel. Yet we knew how dishonest this was because they were being sold under a civilian cover for much more than the Americans would have charged. A lot of things were being sold to the Saudis in that way. They're a big market.

The research department was located in the basement and on the ground floor in the headquarters building. The space accommodated the head of research, his second-in-command, the library, computer room, typing pool, and liaison for other research. Most of the staff worked at one of the 15 research desks: United States, South America, general desk (which included Canada and Western Europe), the Atom desk (jokingly referred to as the "kaput" desk), Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Libya, Morocco/Algiers/Tunis (known as the MAGREB), Africa, the Soviet Union, and China.

Research produced short daily reports that were available to everyone on their computer first thing in the morning. They did a more extensive, four-page weekly report on light green paper with highlights in the Arab world, and a monthly, 15- to 20-page report with considerable detail, including maps and charts.

I prepared one map of the proposed new oil pipeline route, complete with specifications, and another chart calculating the chances of an oil tanker's getting safely through the Gulf. At the time, I gave it a 30 percent chance. The policy was that if it was over 48 percent, the Mossad would begin notifying each side of the whereabouts of the other's ships. We had a man in London who was calling the Iraqi and Iranian embassies, posing as a patriot in both cases, giving them information. They wanted to meet and pay him, because his information was so good. But he always said he was doing it out of patriotism, not for money. We would allow so many Iraqi and Iranian ships to pass, but anything beyond that and we'd make sure the other side was notified and the ship targeted. That way we could keep the war hot. And if they were busy fighting each other, they couldn't fight us.

* * *

After several months in research, I was transferred to what was to me the most exciting department in the building, Kaisarut, or liaison. I was in the section called Dardasim, or "Smeris," which handled the Far East and Africa. I worked under Amy Yaar.

It was like a train station, sort of a mini foreign office to countries Israel has no formal ties with. Ex-generals and various former security people would be sauntering in and out all the time, wearing visitors' tags and using their former Mossad contacts to arrange deals for their private companies - usually selling arms. Because these "consultants" couldn't go to certain countries as Israelis, liaison would facilitate the sales by providing false passports and other items for them.

It wasn't right, but nobody would ever say anything. Everyone felt that one day he'd be a has-been, too, and likely doing the same thing.  

Amy told me that if I received any unusual requests, I was not to ask why, but simply to bring such things to his attention. One day a man carne in and asked me to have a contract signed that had to be approved by the prime minister. The contract was for the sale of between 20 and 30 U.S.-made Skyhawk fighters to Indonesia, something that contravened Israel's armament agreement with the United States. They were not supposed to resell such armaments without U.S. approval.

"Okay," I said, "if you don't mind corning tomorrow, or leaving me your phone number. I'll call you once it's taken care of."

"No, I'll wait," he said.

During my trip to IAI, I had seen about 30 of these Skyhawk fighter jets sitting on runway completely wrapped in bright yellow plastic, and ready for shipping. When we asked about it, they just said they were for shipment overseas, but they wouldn't tell us where they were going. I was quite sure there was no way the Americans would approve of the sale of these planes to Indonesia. It would change the balance of power in the area. But it wasn't up to me. So when he said he'd wait for Prime Minister Peres's approval, I opened my drawer, looked in, and said, "Shimon, Shimon." I turned to him and said, "Sorry, Mr. Peres is not here right now."

The guy got really mad and told me to go see Amy. I hadn't even bothered asking who he was. When I told Amy about it, he got quite excited. "Where is he? Where is he?"

"Out in the hall."

"Well, send him in with the contract," said Amy.

About 20 minutes later the man left Yaar's office and walked by mine. Holding the contract under his chin for me to see, and grinning from ear to ear, he said, "Apparently Mr. Peres was in, after all."

Peres, in reality, was probably in Jerusalem, and would certainly have known nothing about his signature being put on these documents. The paper involved was known as an "ass-cover," for internal use only, just to show the shipper or whoever else was involved that they were covered financially because the prime minister had approved the deal.

Officially, of course, Mossad employees work for the prime minister's office. The PM would be aware of money transactions, but he often did not know about actual deals. And many times that was fine with him. It was sometimes better not to know. If he knew, he'd have to make decisions. This way, if, say, the Americans found out, he could say he didn't know and it would be what the Americans call a "plausible deniability."

The Asia Building, owned by wealthy Israeli industrialist Saul Eisenberg, was right next to headquarters. Because of Eisenberg's connections to the Far East, he was the Mossad's tie-in with China. He and his people were doing considerable armament dealing with various places. Many of the sales were of leftover equipment, Russian-made materiel captured from the Egyptians and Syrians during the wars. When Israel ran out of Russian-built AK-47s to sell, it began manufacturing its own - a cross between the AK47 assault rifle and the American M-16, called the Galil. It was sold all over the world.

It was like working In a department store servicing all these private consultants. They were supposed to be tools used by us, but the tools got out of hand. They had more experience than any of us, so that In fact they were using us.

One of my assignments, In mid-July 1984, was to escort a group of Indian nuclear scientists who were worried about the threat of the Islamic bomb (Pakistan's bomb) and had come on a secret mission to Israel to meet with Israeli nuclear experts and exchange Information. As It turned out, the Israelis were happy to accept Information from the Indians, but reluctant to return the favor.

The day after they left, I was picking up my regular paperwork when Amy called me Into the office for two assignments. The first was to help get the gear and staff for a group of Israelis going to South Africa to help train that country's secret-police units. After that, I was to go to an African embassy and pick up a man who was supposed to fly back to his home country. He was to be taken to his home In Herzlia Pituah, then driven to the airport and ushered through security.

"I'll meet you at the airport," Amy said, "because we have a group of people coming from Sri Lanka to train here."

Amy was waiting for the Sri Lankans' flight from London when I joined him. "When these guys arrive," he said, "don't make a face. Don't do anything."

"What do you mean?" I asked

"Well, these guys are monkeylike. They come from a place that's not developed. They're not long out of the trees. So don't expect much."  

Amy and I escorted the nine Sri Lankans through a back door of the airport Into an air-conditioned van. These were the first arrivals from a group that would finally total nearly 50. They would then be divided Into three smaller groups:

An anti-terror group training at the military base near Petha Tikvah, called Klar Sirkin, learning how to overtake hijacked buses and airplanes, or deal with hijackers In a building, how to descend from helicopters on a rope, and other anti-terrorist tactics. And, of course, they would be buying Uzis and other Israeli-made equipment, including bulletproof vests, special grenades, and more.

A purchasing team, in Israel to buy weapons on a larger scale. They bought seven or eight large PT boats, for example, called Devora, which they would use mainly to patrol their northern shores against Tamils.

A group of high-ranking officers who wanted to purchase radar and other naval equipment to counter the Tamils who were still getting through from India and mining Sri Lankan waters.

I was to squire Penny, [1] President Jayawardene's daughter-in-law, around to the usual tourist spots for two days, and then she would be looked after by someone else from the office. Penny was a pleasant woman, physically an Indian version of Corazon Aquino. She was a Buddhist because her husband was, but she was somehow still a Christian, so she wanted to see all the Christian holy places. On the second day, I took her to Vered Haglil, or the Rose of Galilee, a horse-ranch- restaurant on the mountain with a nice view and good food. We had an account there.

Next I was assigned to the high-ranking officers who were looking for radar equipment. I was told to take them to a manufacturer in Ashdod named Alta that could do the work. But when he saw their specifications, the Alta representative said, "They're just going through the motions. They're not going to buy our radar."

"Why?" I said.

"These specs were not written by these monkeys," the man said. "They were written by a British radar manufacturer called Deca, so these guys already know what they're going to buy. Give them a banana and send them home. You're wasting your time. "

"Okay, but how about a brochure or something to make them happy?"

This conversation was going on in Hebrew while we all sat together eating cookies, and drinking tea and coffee. The Alta rep said he didn't mind giving them a lecture to make it look as if they weren't being brushed off, "but if we're going to do that, let's have some fun."

With that, he went into another office for a set of big transparencies of a large vacuum-cleaner system that is used to clean harbors after oil spills. He had a series of colorful schematic drawings. Everything was written in Hebrew, but he lectured in English on this "high capability radar equipment." I found it difficult not to laugh. He laid it on so thick, claiming this radar could locate a guy swimming in the water and practically tell his shoe size, his name and address, and his blood type. When he'd finished, the Sri Lankans thanked him, said they were surprised at this technological advancement, but that it wouldn't fit their ships. Here they were telling us about their ships. Well, we knew about their ships. We built them!

After dropping me off at the hotel, I told Amy the Sri Lankans weren't buying the radar. "Yes, we knew that," he replied.

Amy then told me to go to Kfar Sirkin where the Sri Lankan special-forces group was training, get them, whatever they needed, then take them into Tel Aviv for the evening. But he cautioned me to make sure it was all coordinated with Yosy, who had just been transferred to the same department that week.

Yosy was also looking after a group being trained by the Israelis. But they weren't supposed to meet my people. They were Tamils, bitter enemies of my Sinhalese group. Tamils, who are mostly Hindu, argue that since Sri Lanka won independence from Great Britain in 1948 (as Ceylon), they have been discriminated against by the island's predominantly Buddhist Sinhalese majority. Of the 16 million or so Sri Lankans, about 74 percent are Sinhalese, and just 20 percent are Tamil, largely centered in the northern section of the country. Around 1983, a group of Tamil guerrilla factions, collectively known as the Tamil Tigers, began an armed struggle to create a Tamil homeland in the north called Eelam - an ongoing battle that has claimed thousands of lives on both sides.

Sympathy for the Tamils runs high in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where 40 million Tamils live. Many Sri Lankan Tamils, escaping the bloodshed, have sought refuge there, and the Sri Lankan government has accused Indian officials of arming and training the Tamils. They should be accusing the Mossad.

The Tamils were training at the commando naval base, learning penetration techniques, mining landings, communications, and how to sabotage ships similar to the Devora. There were about 28 men in each group, so it was decided that Yosy should take the Tamils to Haifa that night while I took the Sinhalese to Tel Aviv, thus avoiding any chance encounters.

The real problem started about two weeks into the courses, when both the Tamils and Sinhalese - unknown to each other, of course - were training at Kfar Sirkin. It is a fairly large base, but even so, on one occasion the two groups passed within a few yards of each other while they were out jogging. After their basic training routine at Kfar Sirkin, the Sinhalese were taken to the naval base to be taught essentially how to deal with all the techniques the Israelis had just taught the Tamils. It was pretty hectic. We had to dream up punishments or night training exercises just to keep them busy, so that both groups wouldn't be in Tel Aviv at the same time. The actions of this one man (Amy) could have jeopardized the political situation in Israel if these groups had met. I'm sure Peres wouldn't have slept at night if he'd known this was going on. But, of course, he didn't know.

When the three weeks were just about up and the Sinhalese were preparing to go to Atlit, the top-secret naval commando base, Amy told me he wouldn't be going with them. The Sayret Matcal would take over their training. This was the top intelligence reconnaissance group, the one that carried out the famous Entebbe raid. (The naval commandos are the equivalent of the American Seals.)

"Look, we have a problem," said Amy. "We have a group of 27 SWAT team guys from India coming in."

"My God," I said "What is this? We've got Sinhalese, Tamils, and now Indians. Who's next?"

The SWAT team was supposed to train at the same base where Yosy had the Tamils, a tricky and potentially volatile situation. And I still had my regular office work to do, along with the daily reports. In the evenings, I took the SWAT team to dinner, again making sure none of the groups ended up in the same place. Every day I had an envelope brought to me with about $300 in Israeli currency to spend on them.

At the same time, I was meeting with a Taiwanese air-force general named Key, the representative of their intelligence community in Israel. He worked out of the Japanese embassy, and he wanted to buy weapons. I was told to show him around, but not to sell to him, since the Taiwanese would replicate in two days anything they bought, and end up competing with Israel on the market. I took him to the Sultan factory in the Galil, where mortars and mortar shells were made. He was impressed, but the manufacturer told me he couldn't sell him anything, anyway: first, because he was from Taiwan, and second, because everything he had was pre-ordered. I told him I had no idea we were training so hard with mortars. He said, "We aren't, but the Iranians are sure using a lot of them." That was keeping the company in business.

At one point they made arrangements to bring in a whole group of Taiwanese for training. It was a compromise of sorts. They had asked the Mossad to give them combatants in China, but they wouldn't; instead, they trained a unit similar to the neviot, capable of gathering information from Inanimate objects.

At this time, the department also had a series of Africans coming and going and being offered various services. I stayed with the department two months longer than I was supposed to, at Amy's specific request - both a compliment and a useful addition to my personnel record.

They used to tell the story of the "kerplunk machine" to illustrate some of the weird and useless things the Africans would spend their money on. Someone asked an African leader if he had a kerplunk machine. He didn't, so they offered to build him one for $25 million. When a huge arm, nearly 1,000 feet long and over 600 feet high, hovering over the water, was complete, its creator went back to the leader and said he'd need another $5 million to finish it. He then devised an elevator apparatus under the arm that held a huge stainless steel ball more than 60 feet in diameter. All the leader's subjects and visiting dignitaries from other African countries gathered at the river bank on "launch" day to see the wonderful machine in action. When it was turned on, the elevator moved slowly along to the end of the arm, it opened, and the giant ball fell into the water and went "kerplunk."

It's just a joke, but it's not so far from the truth.

I never saw so much money changing hands so quickly and among so many people as during my time with Amy. The Mossad regarded all these contracts as initial contact with various places that someday would bring diplomatic relations, so money was no object. And the businessmen, of course, were looking at it from a profit point of view. They were all getting their healthy percentages.

My last assignment with Amy was a four-day trip around Israel with a man and a woman from Communist China who wanted to buy electronic equipment.

They were angry at being shown equipment of lesser quality than they already had. They complained saying, "What are they trying to sell us, socks?", which I found really funny, because I used to say that if we could sell socks to the Chinese army, we'd be economically sound. Everybody would be knitting.

But the Chinese couple were badly treated, and that was because Amy thought they weren't high-ranking enough. He was making foreign-affairs decisions by himself, without asking anyone. It was astonishing. All his life Amy worked for government at a government salary, yet he lived on this acreage north of Tel Aviv in a huge villa with a small forest of his own. We'd stop there sometimes for a drink when we were working on the weekends and there were always businessmen wandering around the lawns, and a barbecue going. I once said to him, "How can you manage all this?" and he said, "You work hard, you save, and you can manage." Yeah, sure.

* * *

I was next assigned to the Tsomet (or Meluckah) department and put on the Benelux desk, where part of my job was approving Danish visa applications.

In Tsomet, the desk is there to service the station, not to instruct it. The head of a station in Tsomet is the boss and, in most cases, equals the rank of the head of the branch he's under. (This is the opposite of Kaisarut, where I had just been working. There, decisions are taken at the desk and the branches, so that the liaison station head in London, for example, is the direct subordinate of the head of the London desk in Tel Aviv, which has total control.)

The first branch of Tsomet had several desks. One, called the Benelux desk, handled Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, and also Scandinavia (with stations in Brussels and Copenhagen); then there were the French and the British desks, with stations in London, Paris, and Marseille.

There was also a second major branch with the Italian desk, and stations in Rome and Milan; the German and Austrian desk, then with a station in Hamburg (changed later to Berlin); and a jumper desk, called the Israeli station, in Tel Aviv, with katsas jumping to Greece, Turkey, Egypt, and Spain, when needed.

The head of a station had the rank of the head of a branch and could overrule him if need be, then go directly to the head of department. The structure was flawed, because if his case failed with the head of department, he could still turn to the head of Europe, in Brussels. As a field command, that would override even the head of department. It became a constant struggle, and with every change in personnel there, the power base shifted.

There was no such thing as orders in the Mossad. It was nicer that way. First, they didn't want to make anybody angry, and then, nobody really had to do what you asked them to do. Most people had a horse or two in the system - an open horse and a secret horse - one to help push you up and a secret one to get you out of shit. So there was a constant battle trying to guess who had whom and why.

When information came in on the computer from an agent, who was then assistant air attache at the Syrian embassy in Paris, that the head of the Syrian air force (who was also head of their intelligence) would be coming to Europe to buy some expensive furniture, headquarters thought immediately of creating something that could "talk," because of communications equipment planted inside it.

The computer was asked to find all available furniture sayanim. A plan would be devised to create a speaking table for the renovated offices at Syrian air-force headquarters. A katsa from the London station was sent to Paris to run the show, though the Mossad knew the general would be buying his furniture in Belgium, not France. (They did not know why.)

Prior to the general's arrival, the London katsa was set up in business as someone who could get you any piece of furniture you wanted, but cheaper. We knew the general himself was not looking for bargains. He was rich and, anyway, would get cash through the embassy, and so pay in cash. The idea was not to get to him, but to the aide who would actually do the purchasing. We had less than three weeks to accomplish it.

We contacted a well-known interior designer, a sayan, and obtained photos of his work, putting together in a couple of days a brochure for a company that delivered quality furniture at good prices. We would use a three-point plan to approach the general's aide. First, we would try to reach him directly. Give him the brochure, see if he'd bite and buy the furniture directly from the Mossad. If that didn't work, we would find out where he bought the furniture and arrange to handle the delivery. The next step, if all else failed, was to hijack the furniture.

We knew what hotel the general was staying at in Brussels and that he'd be at the hotel with his bodyguards for three days before going off to Paris. We followed the general and his aide from store to store, watching the aide making notes. At that point, the katsa thought he'd blown it. We didn't know what to do. The day was over and the general went back to his hotel. Our guy at the Syrian embassy notified us that the general was going back to Paris the next day, but one ticket had been canceled. We figured it had to be the aide staying behind to complete the purchase.

It was. The next morning, the aide was tailed from the hotel to a very exclusive furniture store. He had a long conversation with the salespeople, and the katsa decided that this was the best opportunity to make his move. So he went into the store and started looking around. A sayan came in then, walked up to the katsa and thanked him loudly, and with conviction, for getting him the furniture he'd wanted and saving him thousands of dollars.

After the sayan left, the general's aide glanced curiously in his direction.

"Buying furniture?" the katsa asked.

"Yes."

"Here, look at this," he said, handing him the special brochure.

"Do you work in the store?" the aide asked, appearing puzzled.

"No, no. I purchase for my clients," the katsa told him. "I buy in large quantities at excellent discounts. I handle the shipping and make payment easier than most."

"What do you mean?"

"I have customers all over. They come in and pick the style they want and I purchase it from the source. Then I ship it to them and they pay on arrival. That way they don't have to worry if something is broken. There's no hassle. They don't have to get involved in trying to get a refund or something." "How do you know they'll pay you?"

"That's never a problem."

By now, all the lights were going on in the aide's head. He saw a chance to make some real money. It took the katsa about three hours, but he got a list of everything the general needed. The furniture alone came to $180,000, not counting shipping and crating, and the katsa "sold" it to him for $105,000, so right off the top, the aide could pocket $75,000.

The funny thing was, the aide gave the shipping address as the harbor in Utakia, but he gave a false· name for himself and the general. The only thing that wasn't false was where to pick it up. He said if we needed verification, we could call the Syrian embassy in Paris. Half an hour after he left our katsa, the aide phoned our man inside the embassy and told him that if anyone called to verify that name and address, he was to do so because it was a top-priority operation.  

Two days later, an ornate Belgian table was shipped to Israel. It was gutted, and $50,000 worth of listening and broadcasting equipment was installed in it, including a special battery that would last three to four years. The equipment was sealed up in such a way that no one would find it unless they took the top off the table and sawed it in two. The table was then shipped back to Belgium and put into the furniture shipment for Syria.

The Mossad are still waiting to hear from the table. They've already had combatants going around with listening devices trying to pick it up, and they can't find a thing. It would have been a dream, had it worked out. Of course, it might have been put into a bunker office in Damascus. The Russians made some there, and they're frequency-proof. But if they'd discovered it, they surely would have used it.

My work in the department was otherwise quite monotonous. I was filing, watching schedules, and most of all, covering up for bosses when their wives called asking where they were - I had to say they were on assignment.

Like everybody else, I was working in the whorehouse.

_______________  

Notes:

1. See Chapter 3 : FRESHMEN
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