Mossad The “Institute”: Israel’s Notorious Secret Service

Of all the secret services of the world Mossad (Isreal’s intelligence agency) is the most intriguing one. Its full title- the Institute for Intelligence and Special Services- sets the tone. The CIA is the ‘company’; the British SIS is the ‘firm’ but Mossad is “the Institute”. Academic and scientific institute combined with the firepower backup of special services.

Considering the operations are on behalf of a country with recognized enemies surrounding it and constant threat of war looming, makes Mossad a secret service quite unlike any other.

Here we have a list of the seven most controversial operations that tarnished the institute’s reputation:


NUMEC’s founder Zalman Shapiro had connections within the Israeli intelligence community. The death of his relatives affected the Government during the Holocaust in Pennsylvania in 1960s. He was also a big promoter of the Jewish state. Thus, apparently Mossad carried out a covert operation to obtain nuclear substances which included one alleged open-water transfer, for him.

2) Trade of Arms and Ammunition with Iran and the Contras

One of Mossad’s operations “Tipped Kettle” or the Iran Contra scandel, involved the annexed arms and ammunition from the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) being sold to the contras in Nicaragua during 1983 and 1984. CIA supported this operation and the US Congress funded it. The alleged shipments were carrying 6,000 weapons in 1983, alone. Media reports talk of the captured PLO artillery and heavy machine guns being employed in Nicaragua. This was inappropriate and stark to notice because of the desert camouflage paint jobs had Russian letters inscribed.

3) Passport Scandals

In 2010 an international scandal broke out when Mossad used three fake Australian passports to enter Dubai and kill Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. On investigation, former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky revealed to ABC radio that such a thing was a common practice:

“You can tell whatever stories you want. It doesn’t take much of an accent to be an Australian or New Zealander, or an Englishman for that matter. And I know people who were under Australian cover not once [but] quite a few times. So why not use it [again]?”

4) Operation Plumbat

Along with a supposed NUMEC theft, Israel’s nuclear program was strengthened by Mossad’s nuclear piracy operations, both real and fake. This was Mossad’s most notorious operation. They established a Liberian front company to buy a tramp ocean freighter which they renamed Scheersberg A. They enrolled a West German official at a petrochemical company to assist them in buying $3.7 million of yellow-cake from the Belgian company, Union Miniere. Miniere used to mine uranium many years ago in Shinkolobwe in the Congo and had been trying to get rid of it.

5) Lillehammer

After the brutal attack on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games by the terrorist group Black September, Mossad was on a look-out for a revenge. Thus out of retribution, operation “Wrath of God” took form. The Institute shot the Palestinian translator Wael Zwaiter in Rome and then bombed the car of Mahmoud Hamshari. Hamshari was allegedly the head of Black September, in Paris.

6) Salameh Project

After five years of Lillehammer disaster, yet again Mossad set out to seek Ali Hassan Salameh. Mossad did not know that Salameh had grown to be a CIA asset during the intervening years. The CIA was trying to use Salameh’s status and connections for various PLO organizations to try and prohibit attacks on Americans. Mossad inquired from CIA about their alleged interest in Salameh. But, in order to diminish Israel’s suspicions the CIA refused having any relationship with the terrorist. So Mossad sensed itself good to go.

In 1978, operative Erika Chambers got transported to Beirut to search for Salameh. She was an undercover unconventional English spinster working for some charity that looked after Palestinian children. Mossad agents located Salameh and learned his routine. They then rented a Volkswagen, loaded it with explosives and parked it outside PLO headquarters. As Salameh’s Chevrolet crossed the Volkswagen the explosives were set off by radio transmitter. Nine people died in that blast along with Salameh and his bodyguards.

7) Beirut Bombing

In 1983 almost 240 American servicemen were massacred at the US Marine barracks. This happened in Beirut in a truck bomb attack carried out by a Shia terrorist group. According to a former Institute case officer Victor Ostrovsky, Mossad already knew that Hezbollah was planning the attack. However, Mossad director deliberately kept the information from American intelligence.

Ostrovsky’s account is trustworthy because of his in-depth knowledge of Mossad’s personnel names, codes, and secure locations. However, the Israel government showed more interest in his book By Way of Deception and tried to have it banned.

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