Y, ONCE a senior Mossad case officer in charge of running agents, was recently promoted to the No. 3 spot at the intelligence agency. Due to security considerations (and censorship), he can only be identified by the initial of his first name. He is now in charge of all the non-operational units of the Mossad such as technology, computers, logistics and human resources. Though it is somewhat premature, Y surely sees himself as a potential candidate to be the next head of the Mossad. His promotion, part of a recent round of appointments at the top echelon of the organization, coincides with marking three years since Tamir Pardo assumed the helm of the Mossad (January 2011). The names and identities of the others who were promoted also cannot be revealed for the above reasons. The reshuffle is considered routine and certainly doesn’t signal a major shift in the Mossad’s policy. Three years in office means that Pardo has probably passed half his term (the length of service of the director of the Mossad is not defined by law and is determined at the prerogative of the prime minister). This might be an appropriate time to assess Pardo’s successes and failures. Pardo, 61, a chain smoker, who, two years ago, began jogging and lost weight, walks more or less in the footsteps of his predecessor, Meir Dagan, who headed the agency for eight years. If there is a difference between the two it’s a matter of style and personality. Unlike the charismatic, smiling and controversial Dagan, Pardo is much more reserved. He has the appearance of a gray bureaucrat, with little time for small talk. But appearances can be misleading. He is a professional intelligence officer and skillful operative, who served nearly 30 years in the operational departments of the Mossad.

However, Mossad, the lethal, respected and feared mythological intelligence agency, is going through tough times, even as the Middle East is in turmoil, posing an unprecedented set of challenges to Israel.

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