PM Extends Mossad Chief's Tenure

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JERUSALEM, Israel - Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu extended the tenure of Mossad chief Meir Dagan for another year.

As prime minister, Netanyahu has the authority to extend the Mossad chief's tenure without a Cabinet vote.

The Mossad (Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations) is Israel's premier counter-terrorism intelligence agency.

The son of Holocaust survivors, the 64-year-old retired major-general - who served for 32 years in the IDF - came on board as chief in 2002.

In the first seven years of his tenure, Dagan doubled the staff at the agency's headquarters north of Tel Aviv.

"This is an excellent Mossad chief, and he has an excellent team," Netanyahu said at Sunday's Cabinet meeting.

Dagan has been at the forefront of Israeli intelligence assessments of the Iranian nuclear program.

"If there is one service that has brought us close to knowing what's really going on in Iran, it is Mossad," one recently retired Israeli intelligence official said.

Dagan's tenure, which has been extended twice in the past, now goes to the end of 2010.

During his military career, Dagan received the IDF's Medal of Courage. He also served as the director of Israel's Counter-Terrorism Bureau.

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