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February 27th, 2010 2:42 pm
Mossad Assassins Unmasked by Dubai CCTV

In case you missed it, Israel’s Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations (Mossad) has been accused of carrying out an elaborate assassination of Hamas’ military leader in a Dubai hotel.  Though the hit was a success because the target was killed, ordinarily it is considered a failure if the perpetrators’ identities are discovered.  According to a former CIA agent writing in The Wall Street Journal, the operation was executed flawlessly save for one new wrinkle that the agents apparently didn’t anticipate: closed-circuit television (CCTV).

I can only speculate about where exactly the hit went wrong. But I would guess the assassins failed to account for the marked advance in technology. Not only were there closed-circuit TV cameras in the hotel where Mr. Mabhouh was assassinated and at the airport, but Dubai has at its fingertips the best security consultants in the world. The consultants merely had to run advanced software through all of Dubai’s digital data before, during and after the assassination to connect the assassins in time and place.

Nearly every public space in the developed world features “eyes in the sky” connected to CCTV feeds monitored by either private security personnel or government agents.  Though unpopular with citizens, governments love cameras because they increase Big Brother’s presence while reducing manpower.  Maybe that’s why Britain has more CCTV installations than China.  Usually, the primary justification for using CCTV is that it protects society from dangerous individuals.  How ironic it is that the best all this surveillance can do is identify a group after it kills an individual.  Now, with Dubai police releasing headshots of the hit squad, it looks like as many as 26 Israeli agents will need to find a new line of work.

However, Mossad shouldn’t have any problem finding replacements.  Media coverage of the assassination has touched off “Mossad mania” in Israel with the agency receiving record agent applications and stores selling out of its memorabilia.  Even when technology makes caps success at a one hit wonder, there will always be plenty of people offering themselves as the next James Bond.

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