A Spy’s Story Revealed

Israeli citizen Massoud Bouton isn’t who everyone around him—from government officials to fellow businessmen—thought he was. As an Israeli spy in Israel’s military intelligence service, he was known to all as Mustafa Taleb, a Lebanese businessman of Algerian descent. Residing in Beirut, his real work was to recruit operatives in enemy countries. In 1962, after Algeria’s liberation from French occupation, he told his friends and all those in his broad social network that he was returning to his family there. No one ever heard from him again.

Mustafa Taleb, in actuality, returned to Israel as his real self, Massoud Bouton, as a result of the decision made by Israel’s Intelligence Unit to end his spy career without compensation because of a disagreement with his bosses.

Bouton’s story is told by a former Shabak (Israel’s Internal Security Service) officer in his newly-released book An Intelligence Agent’s Story. He met with Bouton for hours to gather the details of his life of espionage, which began in 1956 and spanned seven years as he operated in Beirut and Damascus. As Mustafa Taleb, Bouton created a vast network through which he used to collect intelligence. He used a special communication device to relay his information to Tel Aviv. The author wrote this book to clear Bouton’s defamed reputation ensuing from being fired. Bouton died last year.

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Posted in: An Operative's Perspective, Spy News


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