Veteran Spy-Runner Moves from Mossad to be Netanyahu’s Chief Advisor on National Security — Iran Options Are a Key Focus

Word has just come from Israel (Wednesday afternoon) that Prime Minister Netanyahu has chosen a new National Security Advisor. The new key advisor will be Yossi Cohen, currently the deputy head of the Mossad.

Cohen, who still is known to be hoping to replace the Mossad director Tamir Pardo in about two years, made his career as a “case officer”: a spy-runner. His experiences will surely color his opinions and advice as to what can be covertly done to derail Iran’s nuclear program.

Yossi Cohen, “Y” of the Mossad

Cohen, who under censorship restrictions could only be referred to as “Y” (the Hebrew letter “yud”) until today, recruited and ran agents for Israeli intelligence in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Southeast Asia. He also headed the Mossad’s department for running agents, Tsomet.

Retiring Soon: Yaacov Amidror

Yaacov Amidror, the current head of the National Security Council under Netanyahu, will retire after the Jewish High Holidays next month. Amidror, who wears a kippah (yarmulka) and sports a rabbinic-style beard, has forged important connections in Washington, where he has visited often — frequently without any public announcement — for talks with officials in the United States military and intelligence community.

Wherever possible, Israel and the U.S. have coordinated their covert activities aimed against Iran’s nuclear program — as well as against Iranian-backed terrorism. Amidror was also key to sharing assessments with the U.S. on the civil war in Syria, political upheavals in Egypt, and other volatile developments in the Middle East in recent years.

Thus it will be a Mossad man — Yossi Cohen, completely schooled in the arts of getting things done secretly — who will advise Netanyahu on all the various policy and action options, while also handling what is and isn’t told to the United States government.

August 21, 2013

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