Tamir Pardo 311.
(photo credit: Channel 10 News)
After eight years as head of the Mossad, Meir Dagan will finally step down in the coming weeks after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced on Monday the appointment of Tamir Pardo as the next head of the Israeli espionage agency.
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The announcement ended weeks of speculation as to who would succeed current Mossad chief Meir Dagan.
Pardo is a longtime Mossad veteran who served as Dagan's deputy before leaving the spy agency in 2009 reportedly after Dagan refused to back his candidacy to replace him as Mossad director. Dagan was appointed head of the Mossad by Ariel Sharon in 2002 and was tasked with restructuring the Mossad after a slew of mishaps.
Dagan decided to turn the Mossad’s attention to two main objectives – preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and waging a covert shadow war against the axis of evil that comprises of Israel’s enemies – Iran, Syria, Hizbullah and Hamas.
In announcing the appointment, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said that Pardo has dozens of years of experience and was certain he was "the right person to lead the Mossad in the coming years in light of the complex challenges facing the State of Israel.
Pardo is reportedly a family friend of Netanyahu. He served in the elite General Staff Reconnaissance Unit known as Sayeret Matkal with the Prime Minister's older brother, Yoni, who was killed during the Entebbe raid in 1976.
Pardo enlisted into the Mossad in 1980 and joined the operations branch of the agency. He served as a communications officer in Sayeret Matkal and was reportedly assigned to missions which required an operative with technical skills. He is credited with establishing the infrastructure that led to a tightening of ties between the Mossad and Military Intelligence in recent years after spending a year as an advisor to the IDF’s Operations Directorate, including during the Second Lebanon War.
In a statement put out by the Prime Minister's Office, Netanyahu expressed his deep appreciation to Dagan for his contribution to Israel's security, and said he was certain he would continue to contribute in the future as well.
Other candidates were former head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin who will step down from his post in mid 2011.
“I know Tamir for a number of decades and from different missions that we did together,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak said. “He is a professional with rich operational experience and is suitable to lead the Mossad.”
Barak was reported to have been opposed to the appointment since Pardo
had seen the so-called Galant Document, after it was shown to him by
Col. (res.) Gabi Siboni, the former IDF officer who leaked it to Channel
2. Pardo was not involved in writing the document but Siboni had
reportedly consulted with him before leaking it to the media.
Pardo's appointment is subject to approval by the Turkel Committee which must endorse senior governmental appointments.