Three senior officials reportedly quit Mossad over moves by new spy chief

High-ranking agents said to leave espionage agency due to organizational changes made by director David Barnea

Mossad chief David Barnea at a ceremony marking his taking the helm of the agency, on June 1, 2021. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)
Mossad chief David Barnea at a ceremony marking his taking the helm of the agency, on June 1, 2021. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Three senior officials in the Mossad espionage agency have resigned over  decisions made by the organization’s new director, David Barnea, according to a Thursday report.

The resignations took place in the past few weeks, Channel 13 reported.

Barnea took over as director of the intelligence agency from Yossi Cohen in June.

The officials who left the agency were three of its most senior officials, holding the comparative rank of major-general in the military, the report said.

Those said to have quit include the head of the technology division, the head of operations and the head of the branch dealing with the anti-terror war. A fourth senior official is reportedly considering quitting as well.

The resignation of the officials was said to be directly linked to organizational decisions made by Barnea to divide up responsibilities in the spy agency and split existing branches.

Barnea, who is also known by his nickname Dedi, served as a combat soldier in the elite Sayeret Matkal commando unit and has been in the Mossad for the past 25 years, including in prominent operational roles that saw him rise to lead the branch that handles the organization’s agents worldwide. He was appointed Cohen’s deputy in 2019.

Announcing Barnea’s appointment in May, then prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his top task was “to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.”

Cohen had served as head of the Mossad since January 2016. He was considered a close confidante to Netanyahu, reportedly served as the former prime minister’s special envoy for various tasks, and was said to be seen by Netanyahu as his preferred successor as prime minister.

Cohen played a prominent role in last year’s deals to normalize ties with Arab countries. He traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, as the US brokered deals between them and Israel.

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