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Israeli Intelligence Reshuffling Could Affect Approach to Iran

Israel’s cabinet on Sunday approved Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s choice of Yossi Cohen, the outgoing deputy head of the Mossad, to be Israel’s new National Security Advisor.

Cohen, 52 years old, made his career as a “case officer”: a spy-runner. Until Wednesday, under censorship restrictions, Cohen could only be referred to as “Y” (or the Hebrew letter “yud”). He recruited and ran agents for Israeli intelligence in the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of the world. He also headed the Mossad’s “humint” (human intelligence) department, Tsomet.

His experiences will surely color his opinions and advice as to what can be done to derail Iran’s nuclear program covertly.

Yaacov Amidror, the current head of the National Security Council under Netanyahu, will retire after the Jewish High Holidays next month. Amidror has forged important connections in Washington. He has visited the U.S. often — frequently without any public announcement — for talks with officials in the American military and intelligence community. Alongside cooperation on Iran, Amidror was tapped to share Israeli assessments with the U.S. on the war in Syria, on political upheavals in Egypt, and other volatile developments in the Middle East.

Now it will be Mossad man – schooled in the arts of getting things done secretly – who will be advising Netanyahu on Israel’s various policy and action options, while also handling information sharing with the U.S.

Cohen is rumored to be hoping to replace the Mossad director Tamir Pardo in about two years.

[Photo: IsraelinUSA / Flickr]