The Mossad — which has been making headlines in recent days with massive deliveries of coronavirus test materials and ventilators — is locked in a fierce undercover competition with state espionage services around the world to obtain scarce medical supplies in the pandemic, according to Israel’s Channel 12.
“I have overseen many operations in my life, and I’ve never dealt with such a complex operation,” a Mossad officer, identified only by the Hebrew initial “Het,” told the network.
Ventilators, he said, were the most sought-after item. “The world is selling [ventilators] through cracks. We need to find the cracks,” said Het. “We are world champions in operations, and we know how to manage complex operations.
“We are utilizing our special connections to win the race and perhaps do what the whole world is doing — lay our hands on stocks ordered by others,” he said.
Het said the Mossad is receiving over 2,000 leads every day, and must quickly sort out the reliable information from the false before pursuing a lead.
Officials were quoted by Channel 12 as saying that the agency expects to have in the country another 1.5 million N95 protective masks, 700,000 surgical masks, 2 million protective overalls and protective glasses, 50,000 coronavirus medicines and 180 ventilators.
These supplies would add to deliveries already made of 25,000 N95 respiratory masks, 20,000 virus test kits, 10 million surgical masks, and 700 overalls for ambulance workers.
The supplies are said to be coming from countries with which Israel does not have diplomatic relations and do not wish to be identified, one of the reasons the Prime Minister’s Office, which oversees the Mossad, has declined to disclose any details about how they were obtained.
It seems that remarkable successes notwithstanding, the Mossad does not always get what it wants.
“We had a country in Europe where our trucks arrived at the factory’s doors but another European country was ahead of us and loaded it up,” the officer recounted. “We also had a situation where we had equipment we purchased on a plane but it had to be unloaded because the plane didn’t get permission [to take off] due to the embargo.
“The whole world is looking after itself. Prices have risen four- and five-fold and the world has closed down.”
However, Het said he was confident the Mossad would achieve its goal of acquiring 7,000 ventilators, enough to provide life-saving treatment for the duration of the crisis.