June 1999, page 47
Welsh Author Gordon Thomas Calls Mossad
Ability to Maintain American Mole at Highest Level Incredible
By Russell Warren Howe
Gordon Thomas, who has made his home in Ireland, a tax-free haven
for writers, has the tortured look one associates with the intelligence
community rather than those who merely write about it. Russell Warren
Howe, Washington-based correspondent for the Saudi-owned Arabic-language
weekly al-Wasat, spoke by telephone to Thomas at his home near
Q:Victor Ostrovsky told us about the Mossad from the inside,
but youve managed to write the most complete book on that agency.
A: Well, Id noticed that therewere reams of books
on the CIA and the KGB and British intelligence and so on, but that
publishers in English seemed to restrict themselves from writing
about the Mossad. But I got a lot of cooperation in Israel.
The most important thing my late father told me was, Listen
for the whisperwhen the voice drops, youre getting close
to the truth. Never ask them to repeatthey may become hesitant.
But I wouldnt want to do this book again. It took three years,
and I wouldnt want to talk to those people in Israel again.
Not at 66. Theyused to tell me: You could end up in serious trouble.
Your body will never be found in the Negev. I wondered if Id
be arrested at the airport, when I left. I had to get people to
bring some of my papers out.
You understand, this is the territory of my childhood. I grew up
with my father in Egypt. He was in charge of air-sea rescue in the
Mediterranean in the RAF. We moved to Palestine. I wentto school
in Tel Aviv. Then we lived in South Africa under apartheidIsraels
twin, when they said Israel and South Africa were the outcasts
league. My father-in-law, as you know, was an MI-6 officer
Q: Ive interviewed Ostrovsky many times. What do you
think of his books?
A: Theyre very interesting indeed. Hes been
rubbished, attacked and vilified by Israel in the same way as Ari
Q: They even had sayanim burn down his home in an
A: I know. You wonder why they go to so much trouble. It
only attracts attention and everyone learns that Ostrovsky was right.
Q: Both of you think that the Mossad is spinning out of
A: Yes. I absolutely think so. There is something very worrying
about this: Everything goes back to Netanyahu. Its Netanyahu
whos out of control.
Q: Madeleine Albright calls him Saddam West.
And theres Netanyahus wife, Sara.
A: Both of them are dangerously crazy.
Q: Ostrovsky seems still to have valuable contacts within
the agency. Do you have the impression that theres a reform
group within the corps?
A: There is. Very much so. You have to see them [the Mossad
staff] now as very much divided and driven. They had to trot out
poor old Meir Amit to rebut Ostrovsky; but I was surprised at how
measured were the comments to me of Uri Saguy [a major Mossad official]
even when I had him on tape. Ostrovskys been treated so badly.
Now [current director-general] Efraim Halevy is trying to repair
relations with the Canadians and the Americans. Halevys a
smoothie. He comes over as the nice old grandfather type. Hes
effective. He nearly pulled the rug over that outrageous screw-up
[the attempted murder of Abdullah Zein] in Switzerland. And hes
trying very cleverly to get them out of the pigsty because of theirinvolvement
with the abduction of [Kurdish leader Abdullah] Ocalan. Hes
a very skilled operator.
Q: You seem to have tried to avoid repeating Ostrovskys
stories except where you can add to them, as with the Mossads
Mafia-type murder of their top sayan in Britain, Robert Maxwell.
A: Yes. I couldnt resist the Maxwell story. He was
the most powerful sayan in the world, even more powerful
than Abe Rosenthal at The New York Times, and the most crooked.
Q: Youre very thorough about Mossad relations with
A: Im not a Catholic, but I think that one of the
great unreported stories of our time is the story of relations between
the upstart Mossad and the oldest intelligence service in the world,
the Vaticans. Its interesting how rather well they got
on, and I think its because the Vatican service is the alpha
dog and the Mossad accepts that its one of the puppies.
The Lockerbie Case:
Ostrovsky would give evidence if asked to at the Lockerbie trial.
A:Id be prepared to. Yes, I would testify. How would
Ostrovsky be cross-examined?
Q: By closed-circuit television. Hes afraid to go
to Holland because he fears he might be Vanunued.
A: Hes right. You can give my [private Irish] number
to the defense lawyers.
Q: Whats your guess as to who was and presumably still
A. It could be more than one person. Whats incredible
is not so much that they have an American mole at the highest level
of the United States government, but how this small intelligence
service of about 1,200 people is able to mobilize sayanim, and
control the American media and the publishing worlds, and get people
like Barbra Streisand to spout Israel-first, America-second
propaganda to the president of the United States over the dinner
table at the White House. The only good thing about it is that its