“Recruiting allies as spies would cross a red line. There is a clear line between electronic spying and trying to co-opt allied intelligence agents. This was never done during my era as it was known as something that was completely off-limits.”
Top former Israeli defense official
A French Intel Report reveals efforts by the Mossad to develop ‘relationships’ with several French spies, “to the point of crossing the line of turning them into double agents.” Two Israeli diplomats were asked to leave France. The MOSSAD section head in Paris has also returned to Israel. Follow us on Twitter:@Intel_Today
Between 2010 and 2011, the MOSSAD and several French Intelligence services collaborated in an operation designed to combat the Syrian regime’s plans of developing chemical weapons.
The Operation — codenamed RATAFIA — aimed at recruiting a senior Syrian chemical engineer. The plan was straightforward. The MOSSAD would lure him into coming to France to gain additional training. Once in Paris, the French would attempt to recruit him and possibly other engineers.
French newspaper ‘Le Monde’ claimed that the collaboration succeeded in recruiting the Syrian engineer and extracted valuable information from him about Assad’s chemical weapons arsenal. And, this could have been a happy story…
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French Spies under French surveillance
However, taking advantage of this joint operation, the MOSSAD attempted to recruit several French spies. The affair was exposed because a different French espionage agency — responsible for information security — was keeping the French agents involved in Operation RATAFIA under surveillance.
One of the French agents under surveillance was seen going up to the apartment of the Mossad’s Paris chief for dinner one Friday night.
Later, he reported to his superiors that he was going to Dubai on vacation, when in fact he flew with his family to Israel, where he spent time with Mossad agents without permission and without reporting the meetings afterward.
In addition, according to the report, suspicious sums of money were deposited in the bank accounts of those French agents who were involved in the Ratafia operation.
Back to Tel Aviv
Following a French official complaint, two Israeli diplomats of the Israeli Embassy in Paris left their posts and returned to Israel. The Mossad section chief in Paris — only known as D.K. — also returned to Israel.
The two former MOSSAD agents are now private businessmen in Tel Aviv. Again, this affair could have stopped there. However, during 2016, these two ‘private businessmen’ made contact with former DGSI Director Squarcini.
Squarcini is now being questioned as a suspect in the case. He told investigators he met the two “totally by chance.” Classified documents have been found at his home and in his bank safe deposit box.
On 27 June 2007, the Council of Ministers appointed Bernard Squarcini head of the Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST; English: Directorate of Territorial Surveillance) in replacement of Pierre de Bousquet de Florian.
On 1 July 2008 the DST and the DCRG — Direction Centrale des Renseignements Généraux — merged, becoming the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI; English: General Directorate for Internal Security).
Bernard Squarcini assumed its leadership on 2 July 2008. In 2014, the agency was renamed the General Directorate for Internal Security (French: Direction générale de la sécurité intérieure, DGSI).
On 30 May 2012, Bernard Squarcini was replaced by his former deputy Patrick Calvar — who is about to retire.
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Mossad turned French spies into double agents