Now you may or may not have been following the trial in Cyprus of 'Yaacoub', the alleged Hezbollah operative supposedly engaged in checking out potential terrorist targets there.
After reading the report below, particularly the following bit, all I can say is that, if Yaacoub is for real (and who am I, a mere pair of ragged claws, to argue with the likes of Matthew Levitt?), Hezbollah has a lot to learn:
"They send this guy to Cyprus after all the training, all the courier stuff, which I think is part of the training as well as missions," said Matthew Levitt from the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a pro-Israel think tank. 'People recognise you - very slow, methodical. This is old school'... Mr Yaacoub told investigators that his first handler, a man named Wahid, told him he was to operate in complete secrecy. 'He always pointed out that nobody should know anything, neither my family nor my friends,' he said." (Swedish recruit reveals Hezbollah's dark side, New York Times/Sydney Morning Herald, 9/3/13)
How dated is that 'no friends' stuff? Mat's right, it's so 'old school'. If only Hezbollah could learn from the vibrant, innovative Mossad:
Hayden Cooper: [Lior Brand] says some of Ben Zygier's friends had warned Israeli intelligence that he wasn't suitable agent material. He says this happened when the authorities were conducting background checks on the Australian before he joined Mossad.
Lior Brand: And we were approached, and this is when we said that 'We don't think he's up to the job' - we didn't know, of course, for what, but as much as he wanted it we didn't think it's for him. Now it's really painful to say... 'We told you so'. (Prisoner X questions remain after Government admits failures, 7.30, abc.net.au, 6/3/13)
Check out the super cool Mossad approach to recruitment:
Mossad Spook: Hi, I'm from Mossad. Do you mind if I ask you a few questions about your friend, Ben Zygier?
Lior Brand: Mossad, eh? Cool! So what do you want to know?
Mossad Spook: Well, we think Ben'd make a great Mossad man, but we thought we'd better ask his friends what they think first, you know, Israel being the only democracy in the Middle East and all.
Lior Brand: You have got to be joking! Ben?!!! Mossad?!!! He wouldn't even know which end of a fly swat to hold.
Mossad Spook: OK, thanks for that. Now can you give me the names, addresses and phone numbers of all his other friends so we can get their opinions too?
Lior Brand: Sure, anything for Israel. First there's...
So listen up, Hezbollah! I know it sounds a tad counterintuitive but if you really want to be as successful as Mossad, you've got to talk to a recruit's friends, OK? The more the better. Spread it around. I mean, how else do you think Mossad keeps its secrets? As Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan once sagely informed us: "Mossad secrets, including secrets involving Australians, are very hard to crack." (Mystique of Mossad its greatest weapon, The Australian, 14/2/13)