In , Victor Ostrovsky wrote By Way of Deception, which contained convincing tidbits about Mossad recruitment methods and operations. How much was true could not easily be determined, but some Israelis close to Mossad were very unhappy that it had been published. Now the author says that the present book is part of an effort to discredit a right-wing faction within Mossad and was done in cooperation with a moderate Mossad faction with whom he was in touch since his supposed departure from the spy agency in Why should anyone believe that this book is any more genuine than the previous one? It suffers from some of the same flaws: extensive quotations of conversations based on memory and, supposedly, notes. It attributes enormous power to Mossad, along with a total lack of moral scruples and political control.
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Victor Ostrovsky, the former Israeli intelligence officer, has certainly revised one literary maxim: it is a far, far better thing to be banned in New York than to be banned in Boston. Dontzin convened his court at 1 A. The Government of Israel, doubtless prodded by Mossad, the intelligence agency that formerly employed Mr.
Ostrovsky, had accomplished in just a few moments, albeit at an odd hour for judicial decision, what the publicists for St. Martin's Press could not have imagined in their wildest dreams. Who needs Donahue and Oprah if you've got Israel? Intelligence agencies have a lot of trouble with books about themselves. They don't like them. Their first instinct is to try to ban them, and I speak from experience, since the C. But a Surgeon General-type warning is in order.
Readers who purchase ''By Way of Deception'' expecting to acquire an Israeli ''Spycatcher'' will be disappointed. Victor Ostrovsky is not Peter Wright, the author of the book that so upset Margaret Thatcher that she foolishly banned it, thereby making Mr.
Wright a millionaire in his golden years in Tasmania. Wright was a high-level official of M. Ostrovsky was a case officer, or katsa as he tells us they are called, for 14 months, according to the Israeli Government. Given his relatively brief length of service and his position, Mr. Ostrovsky would not be expected to possess the broad range of knowledge about Mossad operations that he claims. His answer to this obvious question is twofold: While he was a trainee, his instructors talked in detail about operations they had carried out.
Ostrovsky's training as a fledgling case officer. How to detect surveillance, how to meet an Arab agent in a cafe and how not to , how to recruit an agent and so forth.
This portion, the first half of the book, has the ring of a firsthand account. With some exceptions, the second half of the book discusses operations in which Mr. Ostrovsky did not participate and which, in many cases, had occurred years before he joined Israeli intelligence.
Since these operations are also presented in abundant detail, with descriptions of complex events complete with dozens of names and dates, it appears that the authors relied, at least in part, on published sources. While it is difficult to judge the accuracy of many of these stories, one should bear in mind that although the Government of Israel has validated Mr. Ostrovsky's identity - its lawsuit confirmed that he is who he says he is - it has not validated his information.
Avi Pazner, a press adviser to Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, has called the book ''an amalgamation of very few facts and a lot of lies. Ostrovsky's most sensational charge is that Mossad, having learned from an informant in Beirut in that a Mercedes truck was being prepared to hold bombs, guessed that the target might be an American installation there but never gave this information to the United States. Instead, he alleges, Nahum Admoni, the Mossad chief, decided to pass along only a ''general warning'' that someone might be planning an operation against the Americans.
On Oct. If the book's allegation is true, it is a nasty business indeed. On the other hand, security was so incredibly lax at the Marine barracks that nothing short of a specific warning about not only the type of vehicle, but also the date and time the terrorists would attack, would have made a bit of difference.
After the attack, Gen. James M. Mead, who was the Marine commander in Beirut, said that he had received dozens of warnings about white Mercedes vehicles that might be carrying bombs.
A second allegation that has made headlines is Mr. Ostrovsky's charge that Israel has a spy network in the United States known as ''Al. Pollard, a Navy intelligence analyst, was arrested in as a spy for Israel, both countries know that Israel has spied on the United States for years, just as the C.
A secret C. Less persuasive is Mr. Ostrovsky's claim that Yitzhak Hofi, the head of Mossad, personally participated in the murder of two minor Palestine Liberation Organization representatives in Athens in the mid's.
That the chief of Mossad would risk exposure of himself and Israeli intelligence by serving as a hit man strains credulity, as does much else in the book. As he tells it, he was sent to Cyprus as part of an operation to capture some top Arab terrorists who were believed to be flying from a meeting in Libya to Syria. His job, he says, was simply to relay a signal by radio after receiving word that the plane had taken off from Libya. He says he not only did so, but also informed Mossad that the terrorists were not on the plane.
How did he know? By remarkable good fortune, he writes, he met a ''very well dressed'' Arab in the lobby of his hotel in Cyprus, whom he got drunk, and who just happened to know that the P. But Mr. Ostrovsky says his warning was brushed off. On Feb. Israel was greatly embarrassed when it found no terrorists.
Ostrovsky says Mossad made him the scapegoat in the affair. But since his sole job, by his account, was to send a radio signal, and he did so, it is not entirely clear why he would have been blamed. There seem to be some missing pieces here, and the whole tale, like other episodes in the book, remains murky.
There is not only violence in this book but enough gratuitous sex poolside orgies, a female officer hanging upside down by her ankles while performing acrobatic erotic exploits that the authors seem undecided whether Mossad is made up of sadistic killers or of full-time satyrs.
Much of ''By Way of Deceit'' reads like a supermarket tabloid. Ostrovsky and Mr. Hoy spare us no mayhem, torture or gore. Or speculation. Amiram Nir, an Israeli official deeply involved in the Iran-contra scandal, was reported killed in a plane crash in Mexico in We are reminded by the authors that ''one unnamed intelligence official was quoted in the Toronto Star as saying that he did not believe Nir was dead. Rather, he said that Nir had likely got his face surgically altered in Geneva, 'where the clinics are very good, very private, and very discreet.
Ostrovsky has expressed fear for his safety and says he was threatened by Mossad. For a while, he was in hiding. And that isn't just hype. Mordecai Vanunu, who sold secrets of Israel's nuclear weapons plant at Dimona to The Sunday Times of London, was rewarded for his literary efforts by being kidnapped by Mossad and returned to Israel, where he now is serving an year prison sentence.
For all Mr. Ostrovsky's knowledge of Mossad - and clearly he knows a good deal - there is one question he does not answer. If Mossad is so smart, how did it manage to turn this somewhat dubious tale into a raging best seller? View on timesmachine. TimesMachine is an exclusive benefit for home delivery and digital subscribers. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems; we are continuing to work to improve these archived versions.
New York: St. Martin's Press. Home Page World U.
By Way of Deception: The Making of a Mossad Officer
Ostrovsky has stated that his name is not a pen name and that if he wanted to hide, he would not have written the book in the first place. The book starts with Ostrovsky's service in the Israeli Defense Forces. After taking psychological and other preliminary tests, he rejects a potential job as a Mossad assassin but accepts a trainee katsa position. He says that Mossad learned of the time and location of the attack in advance through its network of informants but told only general information, without the specifics, to the US. He attributes trafficking heroin as a source of raising funds for operations outside government regulation. Ostrovsky's's disillusionment grows, culminating in retirement after being scapegoated for a failed attempt at capturing top PLO officials.
ISBN 13: 9780312056131
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A Bestseller, by Way of Deception?
The first time the Mossad came calling, they wanted Victor Ostrovsky for their assassination unit, the kidon. He turned them down. The next time, he agreed to enter the grueling three-year training program to become a katsa, or intelligence case officer, for the legendary Israeli spy organization. By Way of Deception is the explosive chronicle of his experiences in the Mossad, and of two decades of their frightening and often ruthless covert activities around the world. Penetrating far deeper than the bestselling Every Spy a Prince, it is an insider's account of Mossad tactics and exploits. In chilling detail, Ostrovsky asserts that the Mossad refused to share critical knowledge of a planned suicide mission in Beirut, leading to the death of hundreds of U.
What Did Mossad Know, and When?
In two businessmen, one British and one Canadian, flew to Tehran. From the airport they went to their hotel and after they settled in to their rooms, they took a taxi to a meeting with representatives of an Iranian company. When they returned to their hotel they took out a shortwave radio set and listened to a brief transmission. The two men were not really businessmen but Mossad agents under assumed identities, on a secret mission. The radio set enabled them to receive encoded transmissions from Mossad headquarters in Tel Aviv. When the message that had been agreed upon in advance at headquarters came through, they split up and each of them set about his task. One of the agents rented a car and drove from Tehran to Natanz, a distance of kilometers.