Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Five of the best books on the Israeli intelligence service

Gordon Thomas is a political and investigative journalist and the author of over 50 books, published in more than 30 countries and in dozens of languages. The total sales of his works exceed 45 million copies. A revised and updated edition of his Gideon's Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad has just been released.

One of Thomas's five best books on the Israeli intelligence service, as told to the Wall Street Journal:
Man in the Shadows
by Efraim Halevy (2006)

Efraim Halevy was the director-general of Mossad from 1998 to 2002, a period of crisis that saw five Israeli prime ministers come and go, even as the threat of Islamic terror rose. He writes with surprising candor about his work and mounts a determined defense of the service against accusations that it has a dangerous degree of autonomy: "There must be an intimacy that is constantly nurtured between the intelligence leader and his political leader." Halevy came to office in the aftermath of two Mossad failures. The first was the attempt to assassinate Khalid Mishal, the spiritual leader of Hamas. The second was a failed operation in Switzerland, when a Mossad officer was arrested trying to wiretap the phone of a suspected terrorist. "Much scorn and ridicule was poured on the service," shaking the confidence of those serving in the ranks. Halevy shows how he worked to rebuild confidence. Perhaps most striking is his description of the complex interplay between intelligence and policy making, offering insights worth keeping in mind as Israel faces new threats and challenges today.
Read about the other books on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue