The Amir Laty scandal or ‘Cait-gate’ may have been big news in Australia but in Tel Aviv no one raised an eyebrow while drinking their Turkish coffee or munching on their grapefruit. In the rarified atmosphere of diplomatic circles where these elite mix, hormones are flying around at light speed. Add to the mix that many of them are sharp and active in mind while being firm and able in body. Throw is being a long way from home, going to the same cocktail parties night after night and the fact that everyone loves to be held – isn’t is any wonder that being a diplomat ranks just behind Olympic village resident as far as being able to get some.

The truth of the matter is that since the dawn of time, diplomacy has been closely linked to espionage. Embassies are bases for both diplomats and spies, and some diplomats are essentially openly-acknowledged spies.

But the reputation of the Mossad has taken a hit over this one. “They don’t make them like they used to,” is how the 21st century Mossad agent is viewed.

Young, brash and careless they are guilty of making basic errors. They seemed to have followed the path of the West Indian cricket team. At their height they were both cool, hip and oozed charisma. Their reputation was one of slick mercenary who did the job in style.

These days they are puerile pretenders who neglect the basics and fundamentals in lieu of being show ponies and to their detriment allow themselves to be led by the bulge in their pants.

Where has it all gone wrong for the Mossad?

Literally meaning “Institute for Intelligence and Special Tasks”, the Mossad is responsible for intelligence collection, covert action (including paramilitary activities and assassinations) and counter-terrorism.

Up there with the CIA and MI6 it used to be known for its ruthless efficiency but some humiliating debacles and cock ups over the years have somewhat tarnished its reputation.

In the beginning came the success stories:

Israel’s most celebrated spy, Eli Cohen, was recruited by Mossad during the 1960s to infiltrate the top echelons of the Syrian government, which he duly did. Cohen radioed information to Israel for two years before he was discovered and publicly hanged in Damascus.

Another Mossad agent, Wolfgang Lotz, established himself in Cairo, became acquainted with high-ranking Egyptian military and police officers, and obtained information on missile sites and on German scientists working on the Egyptian rocket program. In 1962 and 1963, in a successful effort to intimidate the Germans, several key scientists in that program were targets of assassination attempts. Mossad also succeeded in seizing eight missile boats under construction for Israel in France, but which had been embargoed by French president Charles de Gaulle in December 1968.

They located and kidnapped Adolf Eichmann, assassinated those involved with the Munich massacre (it went right for the most part – see below) , kidnapped Mordechai Vanunu, provided highly sensitive information about Iraq’s Osiraq nuclear reactor which allowed it to be destroyed, provided intelligence for Operation Entebbe and assassinated Abu Jihad.

In recent time the stuff ups are what has cost them dearly. In 1973, Ahmed Bouchiki, an innocent Arab waiter in Lillehammer, Norway, was killed after having been mistaken for Ali Hassan Salameh, one of the leaders of the Black September,which was responsible for the Munich Massacre.

The Mossad agents used fake Canadian passports, which angered the Canadian government. This was similar to an event in 1981 where fake British passports were discovered in a grocery bag in London in 1981, leading to a diplomatic row with Israel over Mossad involvement with the attempt to infiltrate China.

In 1997, two Mossad agents were caught in Jordan on mission to assassinate Sheikh Khaled Mashal, a leader of Hamas, by injecting him with poison. Again, they were using fake Canadian passports. This led to a diplomatic row with Canada and Jordan, and Israel was also further forced to release several Palestinian prisoners.

And of course last July, New Zealand imposed diplomatic sanctions on Israel over an incident in which two Israelis, attempted to fraudulently obtain New Zealand passports.

So when it went right it was all cool because you never heard about it.

But when a spy gets sprung, although it is embarrassing for the country in question they can write the agent off as a renegade maverick and in Mission Impossible would disavow any knowledge of them and their mission.

In any event the media have got it all wrong. The real story is how an Aussie chick seduced a spy.