11. Mossad's Greatest Hits & Misses


Manage episode 294129555 series 2904635
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The Cukurs operation barely scratches the surface of what Mossad has done over the years. Mossad has been, “involved in special operations and activity in the service of the State of Israel, such as the pursuit of Nazi criminals.” This episode explores some of the most important operations the agency has carried out. Stephan Talty describes missions you’ve probably never heard of but that shaped the Middle East and the whole world.

The episode contains interviews with Robert Baer, accomplished former CIA agent, intelligence expert and security analyst, bestselling author of several books including *See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA's War Against Terrorism* which was the basis for the film Syriana, in which George Clooney's character is based on Baer and H. Keith Melton, intelligence historian and expert on espionage tradecraft.

Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher came out of author Stephan Talty's work on a book called *The Good Assassin.* Click here to Buy the book

THE JET discusses an operation in which the target wasn’t human. In 1963, the Israelis decided they had to have a MIG. At the time, the MIG was the most advanced Soviet fighter plane, and the latest model, the MIG-21, had been purchased by Israel’s neighbors — and enemies — Egypt, Syria, and Iraq.

THE ENGINEER tells the story of Yahya Ayash, the No. 1 bombmaker for Hamas. Ayash was a master of building explosives. Ayash built bombs for Hamas suicide attacks: the Mehola Junction bombing in 1993, the Afula Bus massacre in 1994, the Dizengoff Street bus massacre also in 1994 — at the time, the deadliest suicide bombing in Israeli history with 22 civilians killed and 50 injured — Ayash was also behind the Hadera central station massacre, again in 1994, and many more.

THE SCIENTIST is about the Israeli government's operations to find out if Syria, which had been hostile to their Jewish neighbors for decades, had a nuclear program. Was there anything going on? Were they building plants? Were they thinking of building bombs? There was no evidence on the ground that anything was happening. Israel’s spy satellites were picking up nothing. Still, some people at Mossad had an uneasy feeling.

THE WRONG MAN explores Operation Wrath of God. In 1972, Mossad was thrust into the spotlight when members of the faction of the Palestinian Liberation Organization known as “Black September” took Israeli athletes and coaches hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. A botched German ambush resulted in the murder of nine Israelis, as well as the deaths of the terrorists. It was a catastrophe - for the Olympics, for the Germans, and for the Israelis. Prime Minister Golda Meir quickly approved Operation Wrath of God, a covert Mossad operation to hunt down and kill the planners of the Munich massacre.

SPIES NEVER FORGET tells the story of a Lebanese man named Imad Fayez Mughniyah, the mastermind in a series of terror attacks against Israelis. He was believed to be the chief of staff for Hezbollah and was a link between Iran and terrorist groups. Mossad and Mughniyah were involved in a cat and mouse game for decades. Mossad wanted to kill him and Mughniyah knew it.

THE GENERAL is about a man named Mohammed Suleiman, a general in the Syrian army and one of the main contacts to Iran and Hamas. Israel wanted him gone.

• Written and Hosted by STEPHAN TALTY

• Produced and Directed by SCOTT WAXMAN and JACOB BRONSTEIN

• Executive Producers: SCOTT WAXMAN and MARK FRANCIS


• Editorial direction: SCOTT WAXMAN and MANGESH HATTIKUDUR

• Editing, mixing, and sound design: MARK FRANCIS

• Theme Music by TYLER CASH

• Archival Researcher: ADAM SHAPIRO


Learn more about “Good Assassins: Hunting the Butcher” at DiversionPodcasts.com

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