World's Greatest Spy Capers
By Katie Paul
From the moment Mahmoud al-Mabhouh stepped off a plane in Dubai on Jan. 20, his killers—probably from Israel’s Mossad—had him in their sights. Al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas official who had arrived from Damascus allegedly to arrange an arms shipment to Gaza, perished hours later in his room at the Al Bustan Rotana hotel, electrocuted and strangled by the seven men who were waiting for him after a day following him around Dubai. The assassins covered their tracks well. They flew in from Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, and Zurich on forged passports. They wore disguises. They switched hotels multiple times. They carried cell phones but never called each other directly.
But they were being watched, and now the video of their exploits is available online. What remains is an old-fashioned international mystery, reminiscent of the notorious glory days of the CIA and MI6 from a half century ago. Even then, some of the cleverest, sneakiest, and strangest spy games were sometimes undone—by small mistakes, good counterintelligence, or dumb luck. To put the current caper in context, here are some of NEWSWEEK’s favorite real-life espionage thrillers of yore (the ones we know about, anyway).Read more...