mossad crest 88.
(photo credit: )
Security officials are downplaying recent reports that the Mossad head's heavy hand had caused a massive defection from its top ranks.
â€œThere has been a reshuffling, but it is basically getting rid of the dead wood,â€ said a security source on condition of anonymity. â€œThese reports of the Mossad crumbling are twisted and should be taken with a grain of salt.â€
Mossad head Meir Dagan, who took over in 2002, has been steadily restructuring the Israeli intelligence agency to revive its human intelligence and operational capabilities. These have involved two major reshuffles as Dagan refocused the agency's missions to combating international terror against the Jewish state.
According to security sources, Dagan enjoys the strong backing of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. But Sharon has refrained from making any public statements on the matter since it could be used to draw more media attention than desired on Israel's spy agency.
The Mossad has so far declined to take the example of the Shin Bet (Israel's Security Agency) in appointing a spokesperson. This has led to the capacity for detrimental stories about the spy agency to be published without response. But a source close to the organization said this was the price they were willing to pay to keep aloof.
According to a recent report in Yediot Aharonot by Ronen Bergman, the recent resignations included the No. 2 and No. 3 men at the top as well as the head of special operations.
Ma'ariv reported that over 200 officials have resigned over the past two years. One unnamed official accused Dagan of leading the organization to a dead end and said there was a deep crisis of confidence in Dagan.
These resignations have coincided with a major recruitment drive on the Internet by the organization.
Sources confirmed that some senior members had recently resigned or were forced out. But they said that they were â€œleftovers from the old guard who went running to the media when they didn't get their way.â€
Some of the restructuring Dagan has done involved creating a new administrative position, chief of staff, who is responsible for support functions such as manpower, training, security and technology. The deputy is now left solely responsible for operational departments. This was aimed at buffering human intelligence capabilities as well as information collection and analysis.
In addition, Mossad's Tevel Political Action and Foreign Liaison department is expanding cooperation with other intelligence agencies.