The Former CIA Officers, Analysts, and Intelligence Professionals Who You Should Be Following on Twitter

Following spies on Twitter can be a dicey proposition. For every legitimate account there are hundreds, if not thousands, of imposters. Many of the fakes are obvious but others are expertly crafted and potentially up to no good. And then there are those who go to great lengths to obscure their affiliation while still producing quality content on the subject. That is why I generally take Twitter bios with a grain of salt and focus on the quality of the content (and apparent intent) instead.

The people and organizations listed here to not represent a complete inventory of experts on the topic. I follow, and regularly communicate with, many people who more than worthy of inclusion. However, in this case I’ve narrowed the scope to primarily include people who openly declare their professional backgrounds. There are many more highly informed, but discreet, people worth following. This list just represents a good starting point for those interested in intelligence matters.


@nadabakos | Nada Bakos
Former CIA analyst on team charged with Iraq-AQ-9/11 & Zarqawi. Now: the horizon and @ManhuntDoc

@GaryBerntsen | Gary Berntsen
Former CIA Officer, Author of JawBreaker and The Walk-In, Father, Husband, #NatSec #Counterterrorism Expert, Patriot, @ConcernedVets Reg Director

@quartusoptio | Theodore W. Weaver
Ted is a former Intelligence Officer within the CIA’s National Clandestine Service and the Directorate of Science and Technology. – Blogs of War Contributor

@haplesspursuer | Sean P. Sullivan
Sean P. Sullivan has over 15 years of Federal and Military experience in the US Navy and within the CIA’s Special Activities Division of the National Clandestine Service. Mr. Sullivan is now an intelligence, security, and surveillance systems consultant. – Blogs of War Contributor

@TaraMaller | Tara Maller
@NewAmerica Research Fellow & former intel analyst tweeting on foreign affairs, intel & whatever else captures my imagination. @MIT Ph.D. & @Dartmouth grad. – Blogs of War Contributor

@AkiPeritz | Aki Peritz
Third Way Sr. Nat’l Security Policy Advisor. Cowrote Find-Fix-Finish: US v #alQaeda after 9/11

@LindsayMoran | Lindsay Moran
Former CIA officer, author, consultant, mom.

@CIAspygirl | Emily Brandwin
Spent years working in the CIA as a disguise officer and as an operations officer, AKA – spy. Now I focus on writing, comedy, Broadway and keeping secrets.

@FranTownsend | Frances Townsend
Former Homeland and Counterterrorism Security advisor to President Bush: 2003-2008 CNN National Security Analyst: 2008-present

@20committee | John Schindler
Professor, Naval War College; Chair, PfP Combating Terrorism Working Group; Senior Fellow, Boston University; former NSA & NAVSECGRU – talking intel & security

@IngloriusAmatrs | Inglorious Amateurs
Inglorious Amateurs was created by former Intelligence Officers of the CIA to give readers a timely and informed look at Intelligence and related matters.

@AllThingsHLS | David Gomez
Opinion & commentary on CT, DOMTERR, NatSec & HLSec. Retired FBI ASAC, former FBI Profiler, former LAPD Detective. NPS/CHDS grad. Now just a retired Sheepdog.

@JCZarate1 | Juan Zarate
Juan Zarate, former Bush nat’l security advisor, is CBS News’ senior nat’l security analyst & CSIS scholar. Series Flash Points airs weekly on CBSNews.com.

@Levitt_Matt | Matthew Levitt
Matthew Levitt is a senior fellow and director of The Washington Institute’s Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence. From 2005 to early 2007, he served as deputy assistant secretary for intelligence and analysis at the U.S. Department of the Treasury. In that capacity, he served both as a senior official within the department’s terrorism and financial intelligence branch and as deputy chief of the Office of Intelligence and Analysis.

@geointer | USGIF CEO
USGIF CEO / Non-Profit Exec / GEOINT Advocate / ISR Futurist / Husband / Father / Former DoD & IC Sr Exec / Former Army Officer (Not in that order)

@ODNIgov | Office of the DNI
DNI James Clapper oversees the U.S. Intelligence Community and serves as principal adviser to the President on intelligence issues related to national security.

@ODNI_NIC | National Intelligence Council
Welcome to the National Intelligence Council’s Twitter! The NIC reports to the Director of National Intelligence.

@NGA_GEOINT | National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
The NGA provides imagery, map-based intelligence and geospatial information in support of the nation’s military forces, national policy makers and civil users.

@HouseIntelComm | House Intelligence Committee
The primary committee in the U.S. House of Representatives charged with the oversight of the United States Intelligence Community.

@RepMikeRogers | Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-08)
Representative for Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Army Veteran, Former FBI Agent.

Again, this list is just a starting point. If you feel like you should be on this list, or on my radar drop me a line here or on Twitter. I am very discreet but please do not overshare and definitely do not disclose someone else’s affiliation unless you have their express permission to do so. This post highlights accounts which are already public and will not be used to “out” someone as an intelligence professional.

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Robert Levinson: Our Unfinished Business

It might seem odd that someone who worked at the CIA would offer up an opinion piece not related to Osama Bin Laden, on this, the 2nd anniversary of his ending. I actually think that now is the perfect day to talk about more important issues. I can think of no more important issue than the repatriotisation of captive American citizens abroad. That objective is complete….Levinson isn’t.

Levinson

The receptionist had a bowl of mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on her desk. I remember that much. The large conference room where the asset validation / recruitment pitch security reviews were held for the Iran Operations Division was located in the main Iran Operations Division (IOD) Secure Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF). It was through a short maze of cubes filled with an operational targeting group and support staff. At the top of a raised section of the SCIF were a row of offices, and a few large sections of ceiling high glass that made up one wall of the conference room. Like most of the conference rooms I had been in at the Agency (and come to think of it, the other government jobs I’ve had) this one was mostly crammed full of a much too large conference table surrounded by an unwieldy amount of swivel chairs. To make matters worse, the outer edges of the room were encased with more chairs for overflow. It gave you a good sense of what goldfish must wake up to every day. Minus the reception desk with candy, and no I didn’t eat any.

I didn’t have access to this wing yet, having just moved to IOD, even though it had been over a month. I was in a SCIF across the hall and found this all out while on my way to the late morning meeting. Moments before I had grabbed my files and notes, headed out the SCIF I was in, and across the hall to the main door.

Beep

My blue badge just coughed at me; the obvious clunking of the magnetic lock suspiciously missing from my attempt at getting into my meetings. Nothing but silence, so I tried again.

Beep

Nope, not a fluke, I couldn’t get in. Just then the door burst open and a few people walked out, most likely on the way for a mid morning Starbucks break down the hall. In I went; ‘tail gating’ my way into the SCIF.

My first stop was down a long row of cubes straight ahead of me. My first office-mate from initial training was working as a Targeter somewhere along these rows. I had been bugging her for a few weeks to meet up and talk shop about IOD. She’d been there longer than me, and I wanted info on the Division. She’s also extremely focused and not surprisingly kept putting off meeting because she’d had too much she wanted to get done. Also no surprise, her cube was empty as she was in another meeting. Oh well, off to the conference room I went.

I was the second Staff Operations Officer (SOO) presenting a case at that mornings meeting. As this was my first, I was a little nervous. I knew the case, but felt like I had a vested interest given my previous line of work. These meetings were used to present potential agents, or HUMINT sources, for further development, recruitment, some sort of operation, handling issue or termination in a peer review setting. The peers in this case were more senior officers from the given division or operation group, as well as referents from the Counter Intelligence Center, Office of Security, the appropriate Directorate of Science and Technology officer and the ever present legal representative. The meetings were a clinical affair, at least based on my experience. I had written up my briefing packet and had pretty much gotten is signed off by the relevant officers already the day before via email. I figured this would be a formality.

I started my Federal career as a Special Agent with what was the US Customs Service / Immigration and Naturalization Service Post 9/11 Bush era mash-up formerly known as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (now Homeland Security Investigations). After a half decade of working a spectrum of customs and immigration cases I decided I needed a change and went through recruitment and hiring for the National Clandestine Service at the CIA. During that time, on March 9th, 2007 retired FBI Special Agent Robert Levinsonwas kidnapped while working a post retirement private sector investigations job that took him to Kish Island, a resort spot and free trade zone in the Persian Gulf, in Iran.

I have never been a traditional “cop” type of investigator. Though I respect and honor the “thin blue line”, I think I’ve always done a pretty good job at maintaining my old friendships and not being “that guy” who looks like a cop and only hangs out with other cops. That said, I did and do take law enforcement very seriously and one thing that has always been a constant for me is looking out for my brothers and sisters on the job. I never knew Robert Levinson, and wasn’t a Bureau agent (worked with plenty), this event really made me take notice however. A part of me filed it away and though I probably wasn’t fully conscious of it at the time, I assumed that the Bureau would do right by their former agent and move heaven and earth to get him back.

Now over two years later, everyone is filing into the IOD conference room, and Robert Levinson is fresh on my mind. I had been working the desk of my particular IOD branch for a number of months and felt good to be finally making some headway on a developmental asset, especially when that asset was saying they had information about Robert Levinson. I’d like to think that anyone sitting on the desk at that time would have been interested like me, but most likely it was my previous Special Agent background that made me push the officer in the field on this case.

The officer in question was a bit of an oddity. Not only was he based in National Resources; he was also a Staff Operations Officer (SOO) like myself. This meant he had been a SOO for a while before heading to Ops Certification at the Farm, so he could then officially recruit his own agents. This was also one of his first developmental assets, so it was our own special “big deal”, not that any of the more seasoned officers around seemed to care.

National Resources (NR) seems to be one of those misunderstood offices within the NCS. A few previous CIA officers, Henry Crumpton and “Ishmael Jones” for example, have detailed a bit about NR in their recent books. I had exposure to NR while working for the agency formerly known as ICE (or HSI as its called now), and later worked in NR for a time once inside the CIA. I find that most people I speak with see some kind of nefarious purpose for having what are supposed to be overseas “Spies” working within the United States. For clarity sake, NR is charged with a few very important functions that make operating within the US essential and beneficial to the Agency and our nations citizens.

NR officers handle communications and debriefings with US citizens who willingly cooperate with the Agency. These would be people traveling to countries of interest, or working with specific people of interest to the Agency. There are some other mechanisms here I won’t detail, but they pertain to agreements with companies in the US for similar activities.

Officers from NR also work to spot, assess, develop and recruit foreign individuals who are traveling inside the US. These might be people who live within the US continually with some form of permanent immigration status (green card, etc) or with a visa. Their access may involve them traveling back to their country of origin and then returning to the US. At that point they’d be met and debriefed by the NR officer. The scenarios vary quite a bit, but most NR spots are quite busy, and I’ve assisted in some very interesting requirements based on NR cases. One such recruitment was facilitated by utilizing my previous years working immigration cases as a Special Agent with ICE to dig through hundreds of files in a targeting assignment to find a good lead for an officer to approach. In the end, the officer used my targeting package to successfully recruit and run this individual. I only know all this because my supervisor in that office was nice enough to keep me updated on the cases after I moved to DS&T.

My specific case on this day centered on an individual within the Iranian security apparatus. As things panned out they claimed to have access to a wide variety of information, some of which was related to Kish Island activities as well as the kidnapping of Robert Levinson. His motivation was purely financial, and our hope was to get some kind of good validating info about his access from an upcoming meeting. I felt the review was a moot point, so when it was my turn I quickly presented the case and led with what I thought was the most crucial bit of information we wanted to know more about: Levinson.

“I don’t want to hear fucking Kish Island mentioned again!”

It was blurted out with such a bureaucratically laced snide plop that I was caught a bit off guard. Factor in that it was one of the Deputy Chiefs of Operations for IOD who threw it down at me in the middle of my brief, well, let’s just say I wasn’t used to being talked to that way. I took a quick breath, sat on the comment for a second, suppressing my initially reaction that I won’t detail here, and then continued explaining why I thought the issue was important.

He wasn’t having any of it. He said he didn’t care to hear more, and that he had been led to believe there was more to this potential asset than anything to do with Kish Island. I quickly made my case and roped in one of the referents that had given me the unofficial sign off to present the case that morning. The Deputy Chief then seemed to sputter out, as if it had been some sort of compulsory obligation, not unlike the Brooks Brothers he was sporting that day. The operation was given an initial approval, so basically the officer could meet the potential asset and potentially recruit them. It all seemed really a strange and unnecessary way of recruiting people. When I’ve worked confidential informants in the past, well, I had done it differently, but I don’t own a nice suit, so what do I know?

Now, at this point I should say that I really wish I had some miraculous breakthrough with the Levinson case. It’s obvious that I did not, and had no other real part in this. I don’t know much of what happened after I rotated out of the office for a training course. After my certification course I jumped Directorates and moved to the Directorate of Science and Technology. I didn’t get any other updates from that office. This was, and absolutely still is, common for officers moving around to different offices in their careers at the Agency. As much as Agency HRS folks like to talk about “Hall Files” (your reputation at the Agency, as whispered in the halls), I found out early that just about every officer is as good as their most current assignment or operation. You might have things keep you in the spotlight throughout your career, but as soon as your flame goes dim, the giant information pit that is the Agency swallows you up. Much like Iran swallowed up Robert Levinson.

I have spoken with a former colleague and friend of Levinson, as well as exchanged messages with members of his family. I’m no expert on the man, by any stretch, but its clear that he is highly respected by his friends and loved by his family. In January of this year the Levinson family started a White House online petition that requested the government focus their energy on finding and freeing Levinson. The shocking result was that way more people turned out in favor of the creation of a “Death Star”

I found out more recently that several offices did get spotty information about Levinson during my time at the Agency. It seems like those cases and experiences were kind of like mine. Some initial interest, then nothing. Not like an effort not to do anything about Levinson, more a general uncertainty or inaction with regards to the information that was coming in. For instance, one officer I spoke with had been asked to review a video that was believed to be of Levinson while working in another IOD office. There was no follow up that he knew of, however.

I started out writing this piece before March of 2013, hoping to have this completed in time with Robert Levinson’s 7th anniversary in captivity. That obviously did not happen. I noticed that several organizations made statements about Levinson’s plight, including various former and current FBI Special Agent Associations, to include a moment of silence marking the dubious anniversary. While the attention and respect for their own is to be respected and honored, I can’t help but wonder what exactly has changed?

Robert Levinson is not the only American in captivity, not even the only being held by Iran. How many other anniversaries have gone by without much notice? How many other junior intelligence officers have pitched access agents who are said to have knowledge of Americans being held overseas? Were those cases given more attention by management?

Now that I am out of that direct stream of knowledge, I really could not even guess. As a country we seem to have a very short memory when it comes to critical events, so I would not be surprised if the Robert Levinson’s captivity, and that of former US Marine Amir Hekmati or pastor Saeed Abedini are not garnering the kind of attention that should really be given to those of our citizens being held captive by another nation.

Popular culture has educated people with the common US Military motto of “No Man Left Behind”. Though not always a reality, the spirit of the motto is something we could all do better at.

CIA Memorial WallThis is the point where I reach back to new officer training at the Agency and try to tie in history with the present day. As part of new officer training we all were encouraged to read “The Book of Honor” by Ted Gupp. His book details a number of the fallen Agency officers that have stars appearing on the Wall of Honor in the Original Headquarters Building (OHB) , and appear in the Book of Honor at the base of the wall. I bring this up because I think its very relevant to this discussion of our citizens in captivity around the globe.

I also bring it up because I just recently listened to the audiobook (I drive a lot for my current job and listen to quite a few audiobooks). Upon hearing these stories again, all the while thinking of Robert Levinson’s case, I see a definite pattern emerge. While the “Book of Honor” details CIA officers who perished in the line of duty, the lack of positive action, or downright inaction of our most senior officials in doing everything possible within their power to help US Citizens in harms way or captivity is shocking. If you are not familiar with these people I urge you to read or listen to Ted Gupp’s excellent book. In it you will learn about the likes of legendary Hugh Francis Redmond who spent 19 years as a captive in China, or John J. Merriman who though not a captive, was seemingly denied much needed medical aid after a plane crash in the Congo in 1964.

It seems to me as if government officials don’t care about what happens to Levinson. My feeling is that the issue is so far out of hand, that unless a direct and easy solution presents itself, the predominant risk adverse nature of our current intelligence apparatus will drag its feet until that “sure thing” comes along. This I believe needs to change. We as citizens should demand that our government takes immediate action to secure the release of our fellow citizens being held captive overseas. Its time to stand up and fight for people like Robert Levinson. We can choose to spend our precious time foaming about previously authorized interrogation programs, the stock market or movie stars, or we can take a stand for something more lasting and meaningful. People like Robert Levinson spent a career in service to our country. I don’t know his career trajectory, but it is safe to say from my first hand experience as a Special Agent, he gave more than he got to the citizens of this nation. He doesn’t deserve to sit locked up by a sworn enemy like the Iranian regime.

You might be asking yourself what you can do to help. If so, I’m glad to hear it. I’m not sure what good it actually does, but Internet access makes it very easy now to contact your representative. Why not check out http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/Twitter, retweet it. Then follow @HelpBobLevinson and show your support.

You can find that information on the Levinson family’s website as well as on the Wikipedia page devoted to him.


Theodore W. WeaverTheodore W. Weaver is a former Intelligence Officer within the CIA’s National Clandestine Service and the Directorate of Science and Technology. He has close to a decade working as a Special Agent with several Federal agencies and has worked against counter proliferation, human trafficking/smuggling, child exploitation, Intellectual Property Rights violations and narcotics. You can follow him on Twitter or via the nascent Inglorious Amateurs website.

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Life at Mossad Headquarters

Former Mossad Combatant Michael RossMichael Ross was born in Canada and served as a soldier in a combat unit of the Israel Defence Forces prior to being recruited as a “combatant,” (a term designating a deep-cover operative tasked with working in hostile milieus) in Israel’s legendary secret intelligence service, the Mossad. In his 13 year career with the Mossad, Ross was also a case officer in Africa and South East Asia for three years, and was the Mossad’s counterterrorism liaison officer to the CIA and FBI for two-and-a-half years. Ross is a published writer and commentator on Near Eastern affairs, intelligence and terrorism. He is the author of The Volunteer: The Incredible True Story of an Israeli Spy on the Trail of International Terrorists. You can follow him on Twitter at @mrossletters. John Little tweets at @blogsofwar.


John Little: There are a few intelligence agencies with high profile headquarters and the CIA leads the pack in that regard. Mossad facilities have a much lower profile (outside of Israel at least). Can you talk a bit about the size and scope of the Mossad’s headquarters – and the environment?

Michael Ross: I am prohibited from disclosing the Mossad’s HQ actual location but it is convenient and well-situated to meet the needs of the organization. It has a very modern (but highly secure) university campus feel about it and the grounds and gardens are quite beautifully maintained. It is a sanctuary from the greater hustle and bustle of Israel. There are even works of sculpture by some renowned artists that adorn the landscape. It is quite self-contained with indoor shooting ranges, meat and dairy dining rooms (the Mossad is “kosher”), fully equipped fitness center and an outstanding gymnasium (where I used to play inter-mural basketball).

It’s not large given the small size of the organization but it is a busy place. The parking lots start filling up early and the lights are always burning at all hours somewhere in the complex. As with any top tier intelligence service with a global footprint, It never actually goes to sleep.

Also like other services, the really interesting activity is conducted off campus where specialized units are maintained in out-stations. The Mossad is very strict about compartmentation so operational personnel do not interact with the HQ component on the main campus. I was in the Mossad for about 7-8 years before I ever set foot in the main HQ campus.

John Little: So it sounds very different from many other agencies that rotate officers in and out of HQ assignments then?

Michael Ross: Very, we have no cubicles and people can, and often do, spend their entire careers overseas until retirement. Some come back to HQ after many years overseas to take up senior management roles. There is also a population of operational personnel that live in Israel but travel to assignments all over the globe on a regular basis and for many years.

John Little: Overall, how did you feel about your interaction with HQ when in the field? Complaints about disconnects and micromanagement are common in intelligence literature. Is life in the Mossad any different?

Michael Ross: One of the great axioms of secret intelligence services is the sniping that goes on back and forth between HQ and the field and the Mossad is not immune to this side of HQ-field unit interaction. Given our flatter bureaucracy and overall size (and compartmentation) there is probably much less of it but it does exist. We have also made significant headway in divesting ourselves of the embassy station system. This makes for a more fluid (and less hierarchical) management style less conducive to counter-productive turf wars.

When I was in the field we used to think that some HQ requests were unreasonable and did not take into account the reality of our working environment. When I was in HQ, I thought some of the people in the field were high-maintenance prima donnas, so it works both ways. One of my great lessons was that HQ always has the big picture in mind so I came to realize that my quibble with some strange tasking did not always take into account the fact that what I was doing was a piece of something much, much bigger.

Our organizational culture is based on our management layers being populated by people whose resumes contain many years of operational experience in the field. If you don’t go overseas, you don’t get promoted in the Mossad. This helps mitigate any HQ-field disconnect because the people giving you taskings and orders at HQ have been there, done that, and worn the t-shirt.

John Little: Was your time at headquarters a nice change of pace or a shock to the system? I can imagine the office politics and rigidity being a bit off-putting after someone has spent many years in the field.

Michael Ross: It was actually an environment that I never really embraced nor felt comfortable with. Suddenly there were all these protocols and yes, a certain degree of rigidity to the proceedings. I was also an unknown because I came from this highly compartmented existence (people serving in the Mossad who are not members of the unit have no idea what my former operational division, “Caesarea”, does in the field). One of the hardest parts of being in HQ however, was the reduction in pay given that being in the field includes all kinda of extra allowances.

So I suddenly show up and everyone pays you a much respect because you were a combatant in the flagship unit of the Mossad but they also say, “You have no clue how things work here, so you better get up to speed and quickly.”

I also realized that all my report writing, cable communication overseas, etc. were all now to be in Hebrew. Both Hebrew and English are official languages in the Mossad meaning you can use either one, but nobody is going to use English because nobody else does. I’m fluent in the language but having been under cover for several years, did everything I could to forget it. Now I’m in a milieu where the majority of people are highly educated native Israelis and the writing and communication standards are very high. When I was in the field, I did all my reporting in English (for obvious reasons).

Luckily, I was placed in a staff officers course right after entering HQ. It’s an advanced course that people wait years to get on and I was able to jump the queue because of my time in the field. Combatants achieve rank at an accelerated pace over their peers in other operational and support divisions and so I entered HQ with the equivalent military rank of Major and left as a branch head at the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel (the ranking is military equivalent as our salaries, benefits, and pension are indexed against the IDF).

It was a real education and I was able to work with some terrific people in the CIA and FBI but after 2.5 years, I could not wait to get back into the field as soon as possible. I don’t have a personality type that thrives in an overly structured environment. I also found the politics of working with the vast and Byzantine U.S. intelligence community frustrating. In retrospect I was probably better suited to working a liaison role with a country whose intelligence service has no diplomatic relations with Israel.

John Little: Were your options limited to domestic postings or liaison roles at that phase of your career? It sounds like, generally speaking, once you are called back to headquarters your operational work is done.

Michael Ross: Typically if you come from one operational division’s field component, you return to its HQ counterpart but I did something different and tossed myself into the deep end by joining a division that didn’t know me at all: The Liaison and Special Political Operations Division known as “Tevel” which is Hebrew for “World”. While liaison work seems cushy, it’s not at all and almost all my colleagues were former case officers or combatants. One of my colleagues was a deep cover combatant for many years and took part in the operation to assassinate Abu Jihad in Tunisia.

Some of my colleagues joined the HUMINT division so coming in from the field doesn’t necessarily ground you in any way. You can go back to a posting in the field almost immediately if you want.

The truth of the matter is that HQ doesn’t need more people to fill roles at the office. Support people can be hired fairly easily. What the Mossad always has in short supply are officers that can be deployed in the field under foreign cover. If you come from an operational background, there are always opportunities to go back out until you return take up a management role at HQ or retire.

John Little: So what was a typical day like for you at headquarters? Was it a constant grind of 16 hour days and layers of bureaucracy to navigate or different?

Michael Ross: It started with 05:30 wake-up to beat traffic and a 45 minute commute to the office where I’d hopefully score decent parking.

Days at work in the office started by reading cable traffic from our Washington station (always entertaining) and meetings both internally and with our liaison partners from either the local CIA station or FBI Legatt (but never at the same time!).

As the CT liaison officer to the U.S. IC, I was constantly exchanging material and data on terrorists and their targets with both agencies, but a huge part of my job was dealing with attack alerts. Israel and the U.S. are main focal points of every potential terror attack on one of our many missions, schools, and military installations worldwide. A source report of an impending attack on a U.S. target would have me coordinating the transfer of said warning to my U.S. counterpart together with our CT division and the division responsible for the source of the warning. I’d call the CIA station on the “STU” (secure telephone unit) connecting the station with Mossad HQ. Together, we’d make sure that all the relevant security functions knew about the warning, it’s viability, and any other relevant intelligence. It was a fast-paced, dynamic position where delay could cost lives. I greatly enjoyed working with my American counterparts and I think it was mutual. Beyond terror attack alerts, we worked on joint operations, exchanged delegations on many mutual subjects and basically kept the relationship on track. I especially remember the period where the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were attacked. Not only was I involved in helping the U.S. immediately after the attacks, I represented the Mossad as part of the CIA team that captured some of the main players in Baku in 1998 (based on our intelligence provided to the CIA). That was a “full circle” moment when I realized how important and powerful liaison relationships can be between two top tier services working together.

I normally worked a 12-14 hour day, but if the terrorist attack threats were coming thick and fast (either sourced by us or from CIA sources) I’d be dealing with them at all hours. It’s ironic, but when I was living under deep cover, I got way more sleep than I did when I was working in HQ. After doing this job, was it any wonder I couldn’t wait to get back to the field?

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A Case of the Intelligence Officer “Mondays”

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