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How Israel’s Mossad pulled off the Iran Nuclear Archives heist

How Israel’s Mossad pulled off the Iran Nuclear Archives heist

Used “torches that burned at least 3,600 degrees, hot enough, as they knew from intelligence collected during the planning of the operation, to cut through the 32 Iranian-made safes”

In late April 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel’s Mossad had captured and removed from Iran a massive volume of secret Iranian nuclear files.

We covered Netanyahu’s public presentation, Netanyahu Reveals Newly Discovered and Damning Intel on Iran Nuclear Program:

The archives showed that Iran systematically had deceived the West about its nuclear program and goals, We can now conclusively say the Iran nuke deal was induced by fraud:

We now can conclusively say the Iran Nuclear Deal was induced by fraud by the Obama administration and the Mullah regime.

As a result, Iran is just biding its time, putting all the pieces into place to launch and deliver a nuclear weapon when the deal sunsets. We know that because of the archives obtained by Mossad.

But how did Mossad pull it off? We knew that the archives were taken from a warehouse in Tehran, but the details have just been revealed by Israeli officials to several publications. The details provided to the publications may be accurate, or partially accurate, with false information sprinkled among facts. It’s hard to believe the Israelis would have revealed anything the Iranians didn’t already know.

The NY Times reports, How Israel, in Dark of Night, Torched Its Way to Iran’s Nuclear Secrets:

The Mossad agents moving in on a warehouse in a drab commercial district of Tehran knew exactly how much time they had to disable the alarms, break through two doors, cut through dozens of giant safes and get out of the city with a half-ton of secret materials: six hours and 29 minutes.

The morning shift of Iranian guards would arrive around 7 a.m., a year of surveillance of the warehouse by the Israeli spy agency had revealed, and the agents were under orders to leave before 5 a.m. to have enough time to escape. Once the Iranian custodians arrived, it would be instantly clear that someone had stolen much of the country’s clandestine nuclear archive, documenting years of work on atomic weapons, warhead designs and production plans.

The agents arrived that night, Jan. 31, with torches that burned at least 3,600 degrees, hot enough, as they knew from intelligence collected during the planning of the operation, to cut through the 32 Iranian-made safes. But they left many untouched, going first for the ones containing the black binders, which contained the most critical designs. When time was up, they fled for the border, hauling some 50,000 pages and 163 compact discs of memos, videos and plans.

It is critical that Iran went to great lengths to conceal the archive, and it took a major operation to locate and remove it, the Times relates:

The warehouse the Israelis penetrated was put into use only after the 2015 accord was reached with the United States, European powers, Russia and China. That pact granted broad rights to the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit suspected nuclear sites, including on military bases.

So the Iranians, Israeli officials said in interviews, systematically went about collecting thousands of pages spread around the country documenting how to build a weapon, how to fit it on a missile and how to detonate it. They consolidated them at the warehouse, in a commercial district with no past relationship to the nuclear program, and far from the declared archives of the Ministry of Defense. There were no round-the-clock guards or anything else that would tip off neighbors, or spies, that something unusual was happening there.

What the Iranians did not know was that the Mossad was documenting the collection effort, filming the moves for two years, since the relocation began in February 2016. Last year, the spies began planning a heist that one senior Israeli intelligence official said bore a strong resemblance to George Clooney’s adventures in “Ocean’s 11.”

In most Mossad operations, spies aim to penetrate a facility and photograph or copy material without traces. But in this case, the Mossad chief, Yossi Cohen, ordered that the material be stolen outright. That would drastically shorten the time that the agents — many, if not all, of them Iranians — spent inside the building. But the Israelis wanted to be able to counter Iranian claims that the material was forged and offer it up for examination by international groups.

Clearly, the Israeli spies had inside help. They had learned which of the 32 safes held the most important information. They watched the habits of the workers. They studied the workings of the alarm system, so that it would appear to be working even though it would not alert anyone when the agents arrived around 10:30 p.m.

For all the cinematics of the raid, the immediate aftermath was absent much drama. There was no chase, said Israeli officials, who would not disclose whether the documents left by land, air or sea — though an escape from the coast, just a few hours’ drive from Tehran, appears the least risky.

Fewer than two dozen agents took part in the break-in. Fearing that some of them would be caught, the Israelis removed the materials on several different routes. At exactly 7 a.m., as the Mossad expected, a guard arrived and discovered that the doors and safes were broken. He sounded the alarm, and the Iranian authorities soon began a nationwide campaign to locate the burglars — an effort that, according to an Israeli official, included “tens of thousands of Iranian security and police personnel.”

The operation is being compared to Ocean’s 11. Not having seen the movie, I can’t say. WaPo had a similar account of the operation to that in the NY Times:

Israeli intelligence officials said they learned in early 2017 that Iran had begun systematically gathering records on the country’s past nuclear weapons research and relocating them to a single repository in southern Tehran’s Shorabad district. The building, in a row of industrial warehouses, had no visible security presence or other features that might have tipped off an observer that it contained something unusual. Only a small number of Iranians apparently even knew of its existence, said an Israeli intelligence officer briefed on the details.

“We wanted to know: What are they hiding, and what for?” the officer said. “Once we learned where the records were going, we prepared an operations team to acquire them.”

Mossad agents were able learn the internal layout of the building, including the location and general contents of 32 safes that contained paper records, photos and computer-storage files from “Project Amad,” the code name for Iran’s nuclear project. The spies studied the building’s security features and tracked the movements and schedules of the workers who maintained the archive. Eventually they settled on a date — Jan. 31 — and a time window of exactly six hours, 29 minutes, in which they believed they could breach the facility, open the safes and remove half a ton of documents without being detected.

Because some of the material was too bulky to carry, the operatives opened only the safes that they thought contained the most valuable material, and then took away only the most important files. The techniques in the procedure were vaguely described as unusual, and in the vein of “Ocean’s Eleven,” the Hollywood film about a heist at a Las Vegas casino. How the vast trove of paper binders and computer disks was spirited out of the country is not publicly known.

The coordinated dissemination of these details by Israeli officials to major publications obviously serves some purpose, but what that purpose is is not certain. It could be that Israel wanted the information out on the eve of the Trump-Putin meeting, or to have it public as Israel nears a greater confrontation with Iran in Syria.


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You need to correct the title, Professor. of=off

Juba Doobai! | July 15, 2018 at 8:26 pm

The name of the game is “leverage”. The Israelis have provided Trump with more than he’d had before. What other leverage does Trump have? Gas, oil, Syria, Iraq, plutonium, Bill and Hill, Obama. The hackers? Not so much. However, it’s likely that Putin will give Trump the 12 to put Mueller out of face.

johnny dollar | July 15, 2018 at 8:34 pm

Hopefully, the missing documents will impede Iran’s ability to proceed with their diabolical nuclear blackmail schemes. If some of these documents were unique (very likely, as making copies would be strictly regulated/discouraged), their absence could greatly compromise Iran’s progress on nuclear arms.
It’s an incredible heist, and the civilized world owes Israel its thanks, but my advice to the Israelis is not to hold their breath waiting for the world’s thanks.

    Tom Servo in reply to johnny dollar. | July 16, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Worthy of film treatment – Bibi’s 11?

    those 3600 torches sound like the “burning bars” you hear of every once in a while.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to johnny dollar. | July 16, 2018 at 8:53 pm

    This was really a great operation, showing once again that Jews are so so much smarter than Iranians. That problem was driven by Iran purging their best and brightest.

At the moment in history when each passing day brings to light new evidence of the odious Obama’s and lackeys’ self-congratulatory vanity, naked egotism, willful indifference to Iran’s genocidal aspirations and virulent anti-Semitism, criminally negligent dereliction of duty, mendacity and deceit in pushing his farcical Iran capitulation, masquerading as grand statecraft and laughably termed a “deal,” Israel stands tall and proudly as a beacon of light and a force for good in the world, against the tide of Islamic supremacy, totalitarianism, belligerence and spite.

Mossad’s exploits, here, are worthy of a Hollywood movie, but, given radical Leftists’ wholesale and persistent vilification of Israel, a posture that has been contemptibly adopted, wholesale, by the Dumb-o-crat Party at-large, I won’t be holding my breath. Big-shot Dumb-o-crat donors such as Steven Spielberg prefer to make films about forty-year-old Republican political scandals.

Ho Hum. I am sure our FBI could have done the same operation, matter of fact, I believe Counter Intelligence Chief Peter Strzok was tasked with that very assignment before he was sent undercover investigating Trump collusion at Northern Virginia Walmarts.

Also, we know that Hollywood would never, ever, create a dramatic film that would, either directly, or, by implication, reflect negatively upon the canonized St. Obama the Infallible.

    alaskabob in reply to guyjones. | July 15, 2018 at 9:56 pm

    Having had the recent Entebbe film screw over Operation Thunderbolt…any new film would make Iran out to be the victim.

    This is real life and death stuff…. beyond the comprehension of Obama and Hillary who couldn’t figure out clothing and arms in real time for Benghazi rescue. Or was that just a delay in hopes no one survived to tell otherwise?

3600 degrees is not that hot for a torch

You can get that with just propane

Acetylene/oxygen twice that heat.

Most likely plasma cutter that burns around 45,000 F and can cut through an inch and a half of steel like warm butter

    alaskabob in reply to murkyv. | July 15, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Depends on portability and concealability. Being pulled over by police with plasma cutter is harder to explain than plain old “welding” gear.

    A plasma cutter assumes a suitable power supply. That can be tricky.

    Colonel Travis in reply to murkyv. | July 15, 2018 at 11:18 pm

    Correct. I doubt anyone at the NYT has ever visited the Bernzomatic aisle at Home Depot.

    Andy in reply to murkyv. | July 16, 2018 at 4:41 am

    Probably stainless steel, but for the Mossad, that’s taught in the first week of kindergarten. The real challenge would have been locating (and knowing it was a central location). Very dumb of Iran to store so much in one spot.

      PersonofInterests in reply to Andy. | July 16, 2018 at 11:59 am

      No need to make them “smarter”, we need to keep them dumb just like Barack Obola and his commie handlers.

    VaGentleman in reply to murkyv. | July 16, 2018 at 5:10 am

    I think the temp given was in Celsius, since that is what Israel (and the rest of the world) uses. Probably oxy/acetylene. I don’t think they would use the least powerful tool since it would extend the time on site.

    A common propane/air flame burns at about 2,250 K (1,980 °C; 3,590 °F),[2] a propane/oxygen flame burns at about 2,526 K (2,253 °C; 4,087 °F),[3] an oxyhydrogen flame burns at 3,073 K (2,800 °C; 5,072 °F), and an acetylene/oxygen flame burns at about 3,773 K (3,500 °C; 6,332 °F).

Paul Compton | July 15, 2018 at 10:00 pm

Perhaps a balancing act, needing to cut into the safe but not wanting to incinerate the contents.

Which raises the question; why didn’t they set up a thermal lance or Thermite pack against each of the unopened safes just before leaving? Burn in and incinerate all the info.

Surely there must be digital copies elsewhere?

    Cuz moving it would be a good idea for the Iranians??? They have to burn it on site.

    JusticeDelivered in reply to Paul Compton. | July 16, 2018 at 9:29 pm

    10-20 labs of thermite on top of each of the other safes would have been a neat present for Iranians arriving to work. Set off by motion sensors.

I wonder how many heads rolled over this one

Am Yisroel Chai !!!! ABJ

Imagine one of those 3600 degree torches under a chair obama is about to sit on…

Now THAT would be an appropriate offical portrait.

Hey, Mossad, I know you’re monitoring.

Thumbs up!

American Human | July 16, 2018 at 7:55 am

I’m thinking the purpose in telling this story is so that the Mossad can say to Iran, “look at what we can do to you without you ever knowing, look at how patient we can be, look at how thorough we are, and finally, what are you going to do about it?

Good for Israel and the civilized free world.

Sometimes a small smart country is far better than several large ignorant and fanatic countries are.

PersonofInterests | July 16, 2018 at 11:52 am

Perhaps Israel and its Mossad can obtain information about that $400 Million in palletized untraceable cash delivered on a clandestine unmarked airplane at night from America to Iran that reportedly was for Iran to release hostages and in furtherance of Barrack Obola’s one sided Iran Nuclear Deal that thankfully, President Trump has dumped.

What we would like to know is how much of that $400 Million was “Pay to Play” money given to Barrack Obola and members of Team Obama. It seems clear that John Kerry in violation of the Logan Act performed his treason in attempting to negate the President’s foreign policy decision to shut down the Iran Nuclear Deal that would have resulted in Iran having nuclear weapons to put onto their missiles already present in their arsenal, for other than altruistic reasons and most likely, to preserve their Payoffs.

Patriotic Americans would like to have the information so that Team Obama in general and Barack Obola in particular, may be held to account for their treason.

NYT presents this as a sexy caper story while short sheeting the damning nuclear ‘deal’ details.

OCEANS 11 !!!!! Everyone Loves OCEANS 11!!! LOOK A SQUIRREL!!!

The same apparatchiks in the press would go on and on about old wonderful ’50’s American cars in Castro’s Havana (and Havana’s glorious rot and disrepair; the beauty of the artistic texture of a rotting/rust stained storefront). While children go hungry – and block commisars denounce their neighbors for eating outlawed chicken meat and beef steak.

I don’t see them doing that dance about Detroit’s Ruin.

JusticeDelivered | July 16, 2018 at 9:39 pm

1) We need to knock down all of Iran’s dams, a bit over 40 of them.

2) We need to start doing hemorrhoid operations on all Iranian clerics with HellFire missiles.