Here's a story I heard long ago, as a graduate student. A famous historian approaches the archivist at the Public Record Office (that's what they used to call the British National Archives) and asks to see some files about MI5 (or was it MI6?). The scandalized archivist glares at him, and says that MI5 is a fictitious agency, it doesn't really exist and certainly has no documents in the PRO. Ah, says the professor, That's interesting. You see, I've got this document from the American National Archives in Washington, in which the OSS (the predecessor of the CIA) is corresponding with MI5 (or was it MI6?), and I thought I'd like to see the full context from the British perspective, too.
In the meantime the Brits have fessed up that there actually is an MI5 (and also an MI6). If you think we now know all about their escapades, well, I certainly hope not.
Lots of media outlets are all in a tizzy this week about the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh recently in a hotel room in Dubai (Times, Guardian, BBC, NYT). Haaretz is in the same tizzy, with two opposing op-eds this morning. Amir Oren effectively says he know the Mossad did it, and calls for the resignation of Mossad chief Meir Dagan for screwing up the aftermath of the otherwise successful operation. Yossi Melman keeps his cool, and expects no governments will do anything about it that might effect Israel; it's not as if Hamas is real popular.
If you expect to learn anything new about the case here, you're way off. I know nothing more than the rest of you, which means, almost nothing. There seems no way to spin the dead man into a saintly character who gave candy to street urchins in Bombay, and the world is probably a teeny bit better for his departure, no matter who made it happen. If the Mossad doesn't do this sort of thing from time to time, their chief really ought to resign. We're at war, and an enemy has been killed; no civilians were even scratched. Good. If someone else did it, but the Mossad's reputation for lethality has been enhanced because of past cases, even better. In that case, the BBC and Guardian are doing Israel's work for it. Heh.