Mossad has most-wanted website, for recruits

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The Independent Online

The Israeli spy agency Mossad emerged from the shadows yesterday, launching a website to attract recruits for "special tasks", as well as intelligence analysts, waiters and drivers

The Israeli spy agency Mossad emerged from the shadows yesterday, launching a website to attract recruits for "special tasks", as well as intelligence analysts, waiters and drivers. The agency is raising its profile to compete with the private sector in the search for talent.

"Mossad's mainstay is its people," says the foreword on www.mossad.gov.il by agency chief Meir Dagan, posted next to backlit photographs of unnamed intelligence analysts.

The launch of the site is the spy agency's second break with the era of the old-boy network, when veteran agents would tap their friends when job openings appeared.

In 2000, Mr Dagan's predecessor, Efraim Halevy, placed advertisements for case officers in the Israeli press, a big change for an agency whose motto is the biblical proverb, "Without subterfuge, the nation falls". Mr Halevy said market forces took precedence over mystique.

"The days when a security career was seen as the be-all and end-all of Israeli citizenship are over," he said. "Now we are an open society, and Mossad has had to appeal to the widest range of talented applicants who might otherwise head for hi-tech or other private sectors." Mossad has a reputation for derring-do. In 1960, its agents captured Nazi fugitive Adolf Eichmann in Argentina. After 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian gunmen at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich, Mossad hunted down the masterminds, killing some of them.

But Mossad has also had its bungles. In 1997, its agents botched an attempt on the life of a leader of the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Jordan.

And in 1998, a Mossad team was arrested in Switzerland spying on a local man believed linked to Lebanese Hezbollah.

The US Central Intelligence Agency has had a website since 1995. (Reuters)

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