scorecardStunning details reveal how Israel's spy agency pulled off one of the most brazen heists in modern history
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Stunning details reveal how Israel's spy agency pulled off one of the most brazen heists in modern history

Stunning details reveal how Israel's spy agency pulled off one of the most brazen heists in modern history
DefenseDefense2 min read

Mossad Netanyahu files

REUTERS/ Amir Cohen

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a news conference at the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 30, 2018.

  • Israel's spy agency Mossad stole a trove of documents from a warehouse in Tehran, Iran, in one of its most brazen missions to date.
  • Agents reportedly stole 110,000 documents and smuggled them back to Israel in one night.
  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called it a "a great intelligence achievement" but experts have pointed out that none of the documents made public contained new information.


Israel's spy agency Mossad stole a huge trove of documents from Iran earlier this year, in one of its most brazen missions to date.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed the mission in a speech accusing Iran of "brazenly lying" about its nuclear capabilities. Netanyahu unveiled a collection of documents, which he said were stolen directly from Tehran facilities in "a great intelligence achievement."

Among the stolen intel were 110,000 documents, videos, and photographs that Netanyahu claimed showed Iran lied about its nuclear ambitions and deceived powers involved in the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Netanyahu didn't confirm how Mossad, which are known for their stealthy missions, obtained the material, but did say they had been stored in a "a dilapidated warehouse."

"Few Iranians knew where it was, very few," Netanyahu.

Further details on the Iran mission have since emerged with a senior Israeli official telling the New York Times that Mossad first discovered the unnamed warehouse in Tehran in February 2016, and began its surveillance.

The official also claimed that Mossad agents broke into the building on one night in January this year, took the 110,000 documents and returned them to Israel that same night.

Little else is known, although Israel's announcement of the raid is likely part of its psychological warfare against Iran.

Iranian media has remained quiet on the raid, likely embarrassed that the spy agency was able to steal an incredible number of documents under the cover of night.

But the value of the stolen documents that have so far been made public is up for debate.

While the White House said Netanyahu's presentation provided "new and compelling details" about Iran's past behaviours, some experts disagree.

"Everything he said was already known to the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] and published," Jeffrey Lewis, a nuclear-policy expert at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, tweeted.

"There is literally nothing new here and nothing that changes the wisdom of the JCPOA."

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