Report: Ex-Mossad chief had affair, shared state secrets with woman and her husband
‘He told lots of stories, including about Mossad,’ says spouse of flight attendant with whom Yossi Cohen was allegedly involved romantically
Former Mossad chief Yossi Cohen revealed state secrets to a flight attendant with whom he was having an affair, as well as to her husband, an Israeli television report claimed Sunday.
Channel 13’s HaMakor investigative program reported that the affair began in late 2018 and saw Cohen brag to the couple about various secret details from the spy agency’s operations around the world, as well as provide them with information on his global travels.
“He told lots of stories, including about Mossad,” Guy Shiker, a well-known figure in Israeli capital markets, and husband to the flight attendant, who was not named, told the program. “He’s a blabbermouth. He started telling me that Mossad was ‘sitting’ on a doctor of a well-known Arab leader.”
Shiker said Cohen also shared details about his management style.
“He told me, ‘When I was appointed to be Mossad chief, listen carefully, within 10 days, I fired six [top officials]… because they weren’t loyal to the system. They weren’t good. They thought I was their best friend when we were equals. The moment I was appointed [I fired them], without mercy.’”
Responding to the report, Cohen said he never shared any security secrets or any information he was not supposed to.
In a separate clip from the program, which will air in full on Tuesday, Shiker said Cohen would send his wife messages in which he referred to her as “my princess” and “my beauty.”
“You love my wife, she loves you, you’re destroying a family right now,” Shiker said.
In June, Channel 13 reported that Cohen was suspected of sharing classified information with a flight attendant with whom he was in close personal contact, and that Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit was reviewing a complaint filed with the Justice Ministry.
Cohen flatly denied the allegations at the time, telling the network: “There is no flight attendant, there is no close relationship, the attorney general has not contacted me” about the complaint.
Shortly before that episode, Cohen faced criticism over an interview in which he intimated that the Mossad blew up Iran’s underground centrifuge facility at Natanz, gave a precise description of the 2018 operation in which the agency stole Iran’s nuclear archive from safes in a Tehran warehouse, confirmed that Iran’s assassinated top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had been in the Mossad’s sights for years, and said that the regime needs to understand that Israel means what it says when it vows to prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons.
Since leaving the Mossad, Cohen has faced several accusations of ethics violations, including a report earlier this month that said he helped secure his daughter a job at a firm with links to a senior Emirati official while still serving as Israel’s top spy.
In August, police began probing several claims against Cohen, including that he was illicitly gifted $20,000.
Cohen admits receiving the cash gift from billionaire Australian businessman James Packer for his daughter’s wedding, as first reported by Haaretz in May. In a TV interview in June, shortly after retiring as the head of the spy agency, Cohen spoke for the first time about the incident. He claimed to have accepted the funds after consulting Mossad’s legal adviser, and said he was committed to returning the gift.
Cohen’s term as Mossad chief ended in June, when he was succeeded by David Barnea.
Days later, he was appointed as the head of Israel operations for Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son’s SoftBank.
Cohen, who was appointed by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has said he would not rule out seeking to become prime minister one day, though he is not yet contemplating such an ambition.