[IWAR] ISRAEL MOSSAD syrian estimates

From: Michael Wilson (MWILSON/0005514706at_private)
Date: Sat Dec 06 1997 - 17:51:04 PST

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                Another Mossad scandal chips away at agency's credibility
         Israeli newspapers
         The case is front page news on Israeli newspapers    December 6, 1997
         Web posted at: 7:39 p.m. EST (0039 GMT)
         JERUSALEM (CNN) -- The latest scandal to rock Israel's Mossad spy
         agency involves allegations that an agent fabricated information that
         may have skewed Israeli assessments of Syria's political and military
         It is being called the "Gil Affair," named after Yehuda Gil, 63, who
         was identified on Saturday as the Israeli Mossad agent who allegedly
         received some $200,000 for passing along bogus intelligence reports
         on Syria.
         The charges brought against Gil include spying and fraud, Israel
         Radio said quoting a charge sheet.
         Bit by bit, Israelis have been reading between the lines in
         newspapers squeezed by censorship about what is being called "the
         mother of all intelligence scandals." Mossad gathers intelligence
         outside Israel and carries out "special operations."
         "In recent months there were suspicions about him (Gil) and Danny
         Yatom, the head of the Mossad, decided to check them," Israel Channel
         Two Television said.
         "He received permission from the attorney-general to tail him and the
         surveillance found the man was reporting on meetings with the source
         that never took place," it said.
         The charge sheet said Gil had fabricated some of the information and
         altered the essence of other information supplied by his source.
         On Saturday night a Tel Aviv District Court judge lifted a
         publication ban on Gil's name and other aspects of the case, the
         radio said. However, it reported that Gil's picture would not be
         published so as not to "hurt the security of the state."
         Gil's lawyer, Yigal Shapira, told Channel Two on Friday that "he has
         not confessed ... We have yet to formulate a line of defense."
         The charge sheet said Gil, in special services, began his career in
         the Mossad in 1970 and had been feeding false information for many
         Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, without confirming details, said
         earlier in the week that Israel never based its assessments on just
         one source.
         "I can only say that the assessments on all issues and certainly
         about such a sensitive issue as our relations with Syria are made on
         the basis of a range of sources and analysts," Netanyahu said before
         leaving for Europe on Thursday.
         It was revealed on Saturday that Gil was a former general-secretary
         in a far-right political party that advocates expelling Palestinians
         from the West Bank and Gaza.
         The disclosure that he was affiliated in 1992 with the ultra
         right-wing Moledet party has prompted speculation that his concocted
         reports may have been aimed at discouraging Israeli leaders from
         making peace with Arab partners.
         As high-ranking Syrian and Israeli officials advanced talks in that
         direction, the Mossad official is said to have insisted Syria's
         President Hafez al-Assad ... hadn't abandoned the war option.
         Israeli newspapers have pointed to Israel's assessment of Syrian
         troop movements in Lebanon in September 1996, as an instance when the
         rogue agent's information may have misled Israeli leaders.
         The redeployment of thousands of Syrian troops to within striking
         range of the Golan Heights at the time put Israeli troops on high
         "We were almost on the threshold, on the verge of a military
         confrontation with the Syrians," said Ze'ev Schiff, strategist
         affairs correspondent of Ha'aretz, a daily newspaper.
         "To see how deep the damage is we have to go back almost 20 years to
         look into all the details which were brought by this man from his
         so-called agents," Schiff said.
         "I can't find any reason rather than the ideological one....He didn't
         need the money," said Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, a Labor Party Knesset
         "It's definitely more embarrassment than damage. Yet there is some
         damage because we lost some credibility," said Uzi Landau, Likud
         Knesset member.
         Israel Radio, recalling the recent "Mashaal Affair," the botched
         Mossad assassination attempt in Jordan against a leader of the
         militant Islamic Hamas group behind suicide bombings, speculated as
         to whether the "Gil Affair" would redeem Yatom, who took office less
         than a year ago.
         Analysts described the Mashaal incident as one of the worst blunders
         in the history of the Mossad, whose operations include the 1960
         kidnapping in Argentina of Adolf Eichmann, an architect of the Nazi
         Holocaust in which six million Jews were killed.
         Correspondent Jerrold Kessel and Reuters contributed to this report.

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