New Mossad chief Yossi Cohen secretly visited Washington 10 days ago, Haaretz has learned, his first visit since assuming office. Cohen held his first round of talks with senior members of the U.S. intelligence community and with his counterpart, CIA director John Brennan. In addition to making new acquaintances, Cohen discussed intelligence cooperation between the U.S. and Israel.
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Cohen - who took over as Mossad head on January 6, a month before his trip - also met with National Security Advisor Susan Rice, who was his counterpart in his former role as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s national security advisor. Cohen also met members of the Senate and House of Representatives Select Committees on Intelligence.
Cohen developed close relations with Rice in his previous role, and their channel of communications worked well even during the most tense days in which the Iran nuclear deal was being worked out. At the ceremony marking Cohen’s assumption of his new post, Netanyahu alluded to his relations with Rice: “I saw your excellent ties with people near and far, some of whom were distancing themselves from us. I saw how you found a way to draw them closer” said Netanyahu at the ceremony.
A key issue in Cohen’s talks in Washington was the handling of Iran after its deal with the powers, including monitoring the implementation of the agreement and the identification of infractions. The struggle against Iranian support for terrorist organizations in the region was also discussed. At his swearing-in ceremony Cohen said that despite the agreement with Iran and because of it the Iranian threat has become more significant. “Iran continues to call for the annihilation of Israel and is improving its military capabilities, entrenching its positions in our area. Its terrorist arms are a means for attaining these goals” he said then.