Vienna is the New ‘Nest of Spies’ – Just Ask ‘Spies Against Armageddon’ Author Yossi Melman

One of Britain’s leading newspapers, in writing about Iran as the new “bogeyman” — having replaced Moscow as the target of espionage and intrigue — is spotlighting Vienna.  The Austrian capital is full of spies, and these days that is mainly because that city is home to the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Edited excerpts from the article:

yossi melman, spies against armageddon, iran nuclearYossi Melman, the Israeli co-author of Spies Against Armageddon, described Vienna as a “nest of spies”.

“There is a great volume of traffic of senior officials and nuclear scientists coming to the IAEA, particularly when there is a board meeting. So they are targets while they are there for break-ins, bugging or recruitment,” he said.  He describes a Mossad operation to break in to the Vienna flat of the head of the Syrian atomic energy commission, Ibrahim Othman, in March 2007, in which Israeli spies are alleged to have found details on a laptop computer about Syria’s covert construction of a nuclear reactor at al-Kibar. The site was bombed six months later.

Mossad also explored ways of trying to compromise the former IAEA director general, Mohamed ElBaradei,  whom Israel believed was overly sympathetic to Iran.  One plot, never carried out, was to deposit funds in his bank account that he would not be able to explain — and then to spread rumours he was in the pay of Tehran.

Melman added that Britain’s external spy service had been successful in extracting intelligence in Vienna about the Iranian programme.  “If you speak to Mossad people,” he said, “they are very complimentary about MI6’s capability and its success against the Iranians.”

For the entire article by Julian Borger, diplomatic editor of The Guardian click here.


December 10, 2012

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