Who Is New Mossad Chief Tamir Pardo?

Yossi Melman head
Yossi Melman
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Yossi Melman head
Yossi Melman

Tamir Pardo was announced Monday as the new chief of Israel's Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, the Mossad.

Tamir Pardo, left, with Major General (res.) Uzi DayanCredit: Ch. 10

Pardo, 57, served twice as deputy Mossad chief. He spent his entire career in the organization, serving as an IDF communications officer as well as in the elite commando unit Sayeret Matkal.

During his service in Sayeret Matkal he was under the command of Yoni Netanyahu, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's older brother, who was killed during Operation Entebbe in Uganda in 1976.

After completing his military service, Pardo was recruited to the Mossad, serving in various positions, including head of a department responsible, according to foreign publications, for operations in various destinations, which include wire tapping and photography.

Pardo also performed several management positions in the Mossas, primarily technology-related. Pardo is relatively inexperienced in the field of HUMINT, intelligence gathered by human agents. However, he was exposed to such activity during his position as deputy chief, as he was in charge of Mossad operations.

Pardo served as deputy chief under outgoing chief Meir Dagan from 2002 until 2005, when Pardo went on leave hoping to return to the position of chief.

During his absence from the Mossad, Pardo was a special operations advisor for the IDF. Pardo then returned to the position of deputy chief, after Dagan had caused the dismissal of his former deputy, suspected of leaking material to the press.

Pardo hoped that Dagan would retire and recommend him as his successor, but in 2009 Dagan's term was extended for another 6 months, which caused Pardo to finally retire from the Mossad.

Other potential candidates mulled over by Netanyahu were Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, retiring Military Intelligence chief Amos Yadlin and Teva CEO, former Maj. Gen. Shlomo Yanai, who refused the offer.

The only blemish in Pardo's record is his involvement in the Galant case, in which IDF officials tried to sabotage incoming Chief of Staff Yoav Galant's candidacy by forging a PR document attributed to him. Apparently Pardo had known about the document before it reached Channel 2 reporter Amnon Abramovitch. However, Defense Minister Ehud Barak approved the nomination despite Pardo's involvement in the case.

Pardo's appointment is an attempt to diffuse criticism from within the Mossad, which has seen its directors come from outside of the organization. Many senior Mossad officials will undoubtedly approve of Pardo as chief.

In his new position, Pardo will have to deal with the Mossad's major challenge, which continues to be Iran's nuclear program.