A katsa is a field intelligence officer of Mossad. He or she collects information and runs agents, similar to the case officer of the CIA.


Operation

There are typically 30-40 katsas at a time, operating mainly in Europe and somewhat in the Middle East. They have operated to a lesser degree in Africa and Asia. Some sources even suggest that they have had a presence in the United States in a unit called Al. Most of the information being gathered for Israel is on the Arab world. Because it is more difficult to operate in Arab countries, the Mossad recruits many of its agents in Europe. While some katsas are stationed permanently in foreign countries, others are moved among operations, hence their nickname 'jumpers'. The number of katsas is much smaller than that of other major intelligence agencies because of the sayanim, volunteer non-Israeli Jews who provide logistical support around the world. Most katsas are former members of the Israeli Defense Forces, though Mossad itself is a civilian service.


Organization

Katsas are organized under the Mossad Head of Operations, in a division known as Tsomet (intersection) or Melucha (kingdom). They are further split into three geographic branches:

* Isarelis Branch: Includes the Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and the 'jumper' katsas who move between operations.

* Branch B: Covers Germany, Austria, and Italy.

* Branch C: Covers England, France, Low Countries, and Scandinavia.


Training

In searching for candidates, the Mossad administers a variety of psychological and aptitude tests, as well as assessing their own current needs. If selected, a candidate must go through and pass the Mossad training academy, the Midrasha, located near the town of Herzliya. There they are taught the tradecraft of intelligence gathering for approximately three years. The main priority of training is to teach katsas how to find, recruit, and cultivate agents, including how to clandestinely communicate with them. They also learn how to avoid being the subject of foreign counter-intelligence, by avoiding car and foot surveillance, and by preventing foreign agents from creating 'traps' at meetings. Although katsas do not always carry a weapon, each is trained in the use of the .22 Beretta pistol. Even once training is completed, trainees will spend an apprenticeship period working on varying projects before becoming full fledged katsas.

Mossad officers just below katsas hold the title bat leveyha.

 


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