Deputy Mossad Chief Resigns Amid Apparent Internal Squabbles

A vicious struggle has been raging within Mossad, directed against Dagan's deputy.

Another one bites the dust - that is all that can be said about Sunday's announcement on Channel 2 that yet another Mossad deputy chief has resigned. During the unprecedented eight years of Meir Dagan at the helm of Mossad, this is the fourth time that his deputy is deposed or resigns. The latest victim, T., has been on the receiving end twice - once when he was asked to step down, and yet again after he was asked to come back.

A major general in the reserves, who is a close friend of Dagan, outlined an intriguing scenario last night: If Dagan ever agrees to a successor, that person will come neither from the ranks of the Israel Defense Forces nor Mossad.

The preferred candidate for Mossad head is current Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, whose term ends seven and a half months before Dagan will finish his eighth year in charge of the intelligence agency.

After Hagai Hadas, who was recently placed in charge of the Gilad Shalit file, was pushed out as deputy Mossad chief, T. took over, but was then sent for a two-year stint at the National Security College. Two years later, after Dagan pushed Naftali Granot out in June 2007, T. was brought back. On Sunday it was reported that he had resigned.

Two months ago, Defense Minister Ehud Barak expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision to extend Dagan's tenure for another year. At the time, those close to T. said that if Dagan stays another year, T. was likely to step down.

Ergo, while the media focused on the power struggle between Dagan and Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin, apparently a much more vicious struggle has been raging within Mossad, directed against Dagan's deputy.

Once, when Dagan was chief of operations at General Staff, he said he enjoyed listening to classical music. This is probably the way he feels about T.: At times he is pleased to have him in Mossad, and then again he wants him out. Perhaps he will do so again - to try to persuade T. to return with a promise that he will be recommended to become the organization's next chief.

T. may be lured, only to be confronted by yet another outbreak of Dagan's deputy-phobia. Even if he remains in the background, he will have to contend with the fact that Netanyahu will likely be pushing for Hadas as his favorite candidate.