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Thursday, April 7, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Israel's top-secret Mossad opens up on spending

JERUSALEM — Israel's foreign intelligence agency has been deemed inefficient and wasteful.


A report by the State Comptroller said hundreds of millions of shekel were wasted in construction of Mossad facilities over the last few years, Middle East Newsline reported.

The Mossad, responsible to the prime minister, has been regarded as the most secret agency in the Israeli intelligence community. Over the last five years, some transparency has been introduced in the Mossad, including the release of the name of its director.

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"Many shortcomings were discovered in the construction field, many of them serious, including lack of proper planning for construction projects, failure to hold tenders as required, substantial increases of costs and gaps of dozens of percentage points between assessments and actual costs, all of which point to unworthy management of construction projects," the State Comptroller said.

In a report issued on March 29, the Mossad was found to have awarded contracts worth millions of shekel without competition. In one case, the spy agency awarded the same construction project twice.

The comptroller also found safety hazards in Mossad facilities. The report said the agency was not following the practice of "good governance."

State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss warned that unless corrected senior Mossad officials could be prosecuted. Lindenstrauss called on government departments to oversee implementation of the report's recommendations.

In a statement, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the Mossad required unprecedented planning and construction. Netanyahu said this required revisions in construction during the projects "which could not have been planned ahead of time."

"The head of the Mossad has set up an internal inspection and implementation team and is personally accompanying its work," the statement said. "Some of the shortcomings mentioned in the report have already been remedied and others are in the process of being fixed."

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