Harpoon
A revelatory account of the cloak-and-dagger Israeli campaign to target the finances fueling terror organizations--an effort that became the blueprint for U.S. efforts to combat threats like ISIS and drug cartels. ISIS boasted $2.4 billion of revenue in 2015, yet for too long the global war on terror overlooked financial warfare as an offensive strategy. "Harpoon," the creation of Mossad legend Meir Dagan, directed spies, soldiers, and attorneys to disrupt and destroy money pipelines and financial institutions that paid for the bloodshed perpetrated by Hamas, Hezbollah, and other groups. Written by an attorney who worked with Harpoon and a bestselling journalist, Harpoon offers a gripping story of the Israeli-led effort, now joined by the Americans, to choke off the terrorists' oxygen supply, money, via unconventional warfare.

Harpoon Details

TitleHarpoon
Author
ReleaseNov 7th, 2017
PublisherHachette Books
ISBN-139780316399050
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Politics, Cultural, Israel, War, Military Fiction, Mystery, Crime

Harpoon Review

  • Lance Charnes
    January 1, 1970
    Harpoon is an interesting take on a little-known aspect of the endless Middle Eastern terrorist wars, one in which the battle cry is “follow the money” and banks are the battleground. You’ll learn a lot about the financial underpinnings of terrorism and see how killing an accountant can have more impact than taking out a whole battalion of gunmen. Take the dust-jacket copy with a few grains of Dead Sea salt and you’ll get a pretty good read. Three and a half shekels.Because I wrote this review f Harpoon is an interesting take on a little-known aspect of the endless Middle Eastern terrorist wars, one in which the battle cry is “follow the money” and banks are the battleground. You’ll learn a lot about the financial underpinnings of terrorism and see how killing an accountant can have more impact than taking out a whole battalion of gunmen. Take the dust-jacket copy with a few grains of Dead Sea salt and you’ll get a pretty good read. Three and a half shekels.Because I wrote this review for Criminal Element, I can't post it all here. Read the entire review -- and a lot of other good stuff -- here.
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  • Naama
    January 1, 1970
    The first third of this book focused a bit too much on the well-known details of the major terrorist attacks in Israel during the Nineties and during Second Intifada. As the book progressed there was more emphasis on Meir Dagan's quest to 'follow the money' and deplete global terrorism funds. That was the worthwhile part of the book, for me. Some of Dagan's methods (e.g. ponzi schemes, targeted hits) seem straight out of Hollywood, but I was particularly fascinated by the legal methods he used ( The first third of this book focused a bit too much on the well-known details of the major terrorist attacks in Israel during the Nineties and during Second Intifada. As the book progressed there was more emphasis on Meir Dagan's quest to 'follow the money' and deplete global terrorism funds. That was the worthwhile part of the book, for me. Some of Dagan's methods (e.g. ponzi schemes, targeted hits) seem straight out of Hollywood, but I was particularly fascinated by the legal methods he used (at times in collaboration with with Nitsana Darshan-Leitner) to dry up the funds. It's nice to read about how lawyers and accountants can make a difference.The book shed light on the strong ties between terrorism and other illegal activities, such as drugs, and on how the DEA's war on drugs is actually also a war on terrorism.Considering how much of the success of the CIA & Mossad seems to be directly connected to bankrupting terrorist organizations and/or cutting them off from conventional financial systems, the advent of crypto-currency is worrisome.
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    A very interesting read. Not balanced (unabashedly pro Israeli), but gives insight into the Israeli war on terrorist financing. Also a bit of a spy thriller!
  • Steve Gross
    January 1, 1970
    I may have missed it, but this seems to be largely a recounting of Palestinian atrocities with not much description of what Harpoon did. Meir Dagan is someone I would like to know more about, though.
  • Ben Rothke
    January 1, 1970
    For those that want to know about the cloak and dagger exploits of the Mossad, books such as Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad and Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service are fascinating reads. These books detail the spellbinding story of the Mossad, and how they’ve ensured Israel’s security, in addition to that of other countries around the world.But one of the Mossad’s greatest successes occurred not with guns, spies or international intrigue. Rather via poli For those that want to know about the cloak and dagger exploits of the Mossad, books such as Gideon’s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad and Mossad: The Greatest Missions of the Israeli Secret Service are fascinating reads. These books detail the spellbinding story of the Mossad, and how they’ve ensured Israel’s security, in addition to that of other countries around the world.But one of the Mossad’s greatest successes occurred not with guns, spies or international intrigue. Rather via politicians, lawyers, bankers, CPA’s, and a few spies too.In Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters (Hachette Books 978-0316399050) authors Nitsana Darshan-Leitner and Samuel M. Katz tell the fascinating story of how the Mossad was able to stop the banking networks that were used to finance terrorism. The Mossad (in addition to the US Government), saw that it could be more effective to hit the terrorists in their wallets, rather than with bullets.The father of Operation Harpoon was Meir Dagan, former Israel Defense Forces Major General and Mossad Director. Dagan had the revelation that it would be easier and safer for Israel to try to disarm its enemies not by engaging them in battle, but by cutting off their funds so they could not launch terror attacks in the first place.The post 9/11 global war on terror focused on firepower, dropping soldiers and bombs into enemy territory and more. But the cost in that approach was not only massive financially, many lives were lost in the process.The Harpoon task force was established in 2001, as Dagan knew quite well that large terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas had money as their lifeblood. Dagan saw that if the cash did not flow, there would be a halt in their terror efforts. Dagan knew if he could stop the money pipelines by via pressure on the financial institutions from serving them; it would be a potent method in the war on terror.In The New Terrorism: Myths and Reality, author Thomas Mockaitis notes that suicide bombers were thought to be a poor man’s cruise missile. But Dagan understood how fallacious that notion was. Every suicide bomber or terrorist needed a large network of suppliers, handlers, scouts, smugglers, bomb makers, safe houses, and more for them to achieve their end-goals. The suicide bombing network campaigns were quite expensive and required a constant flow of cash. That network was also highly dependent on money to keep its supply line going. If Israel and the United States could stop those supply chains, they could stop the suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks.Harpoon revolutionized the concept of lawfare, a form of asymmetric warfare that consists of using the legal system against an enemy. In this case, it was a concerted effort of the Mossad and various attorneys. As founder of the Shurat HaDin Israeli Law Center, co-author Nitsana Darshan-Leitner brings a first-hand account of her legal fight against terror financing to every chapter in this compelling book.Before Operation Harpoon, the banks were delighted to profit off terror. Once the lawsuits started, the banks realized that the legal fees, extended and expensive litigation, in addition to the negative PR made it no longer profitable to be the terrorist’s bank of choice.Since the terrorists killed Americans also, many of these lawsuits were filed in the United States. This in addition to the fact that the US legal system has much more at its power to ensure the financial institutions actually stop.While the book is about how the Mossad stopped the finance networks, the authors don’t deal that in depth and it is quite light in that area. Forensic accountants, CPA, investigators and others looking to use those techniques won’t find the answers here.The book also goes into details in an area I had no idea about; that many of these terrorist’s groups, both in the Mideast, North Korea and more; are heavily involved in the drug trade. It’s not just the Columbians that are involved in worldwide cocaine trade. TThe novel idea of Harpoon was that it was a non-lethal way to stop the terrorist network. Choke off the money, and the bloodshed will end.Harpoon has had many successes and has undoubtable saved countless lives. Terrorist networks are often changing their methods of attack. In In Harpoon: Inside the Covert War Against Terrorism’s Money Masters, Darshan-Leitner and Katz have written a fascinating account that shows that when governments are motivated and created; they can beat the terrorist in their tracks. No matter how often they change them.
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  • Kay
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars (1.5 thumbs up in my bookclub rating)Stop the money stop the terrorists. For an idea that is so simple and makes so much sense (to me), I was surprised to learn how much resistance there was in its adoption. Israel's leadership is ex-military heavy and I guess tracing money wires and tracking bankers is pretty unsexy. *shrug*I really enjoyed learning about the raids and about the legal battles brought to U.S. court to try and tie up terrorist money in litigations. My biggest criticism 3.5 stars (1.5 thumbs up in my bookclub rating)Stop the money stop the terrorists. For an idea that is so simple and makes so much sense (to me), I was surprised to learn how much resistance there was in its adoption. Israel's leadership is ex-military heavy and I guess tracing money wires and tracking bankers is pretty unsexy. *shrug*I really enjoyed learning about the raids and about the legal battles brought to U.S. court to try and tie up terrorist money in litigations. My biggest criticism of the book:Harpoon was written like an all over the place jumpy spy thriller with too many info dumps sandwiching the operations. I wish the book had followed a chronological order of storytelling. It was at points unclear when and why things were happening when they were. Though I did learn a lot about Hezbollah, I wonder if someone with a little less familiarity with the region "politics" would enjoy this as much.I loved that the DEA worked (works?) with Harpoon to try and stop drug trafficking from Venezuela to Syria. I didn't know that drug (and prostitution) money funded terrorism.I thought the Ponzi scheme that "took down" Hezbollah was very smart, but I felt for the poor people that then became destitute because of it. If anything, this showed that trying to take down just the terrorists and those that fund them is really difficult... Just like the bank raid in Ramallah. Regular citizens were there and affected too.Also, the book should be called "We love Meir Dagan", imo.
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  • Ray
    January 1, 1970
    Harpoon author Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is director of Tel Aviv based organization Shurat HaDin, which works with lawyers, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies to fight Israel's enemies. A key tool used by Shurat HaDin is to "follow the money", using a variety of means to identify and dry up sources of funding for terrorist groups and activities. And it's those activities, direct and indirect, which is the subject of this book. It was interesting to read about how focusing on the financial ​Harpoon author Nitsana Darshan-Leitner is director of Tel Aviv based organization Shurat HaDin, which works with lawyers, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies to fight Israel's enemies. A key tool used by Shurat HaDin is to "follow the money", using a variety of means to identify and dry up sources of funding for terrorist groups and activities. And it's those activities, direct and indirect, which is the subject of this book. It was interesting to read about how focusing on the financial side of terrorism activities gained in prominence over the retribution and punishing individuals or terrorist leaders. This is an Israeli book written from an Israeli perspective, and the author spends a lot of time detailing a number of Palestinian attacks against the Jewish State, which to me got repetitive, overly detailed, and a distraction from the main point of the book. However, the wide-ranging techniques identified in the book can be and are being used by other nations against terrorist organizations of all stripes. And the effectiveness of those techniques are being shown to be important and effective in that regard.
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  • Marcus Ionis
    January 1, 1970
    A few years ago I was watching "60 Minutes " and they had a piece on Meir Dagan. My impression of the man seemed to be an independent thinker compared to his peers. Later on, my research into Operation Orchard lead to Dagan's involvement into the success of its mission. Sometime later this book was published and I wasn't fully aware of Harpoon had him involved or how much this became a biography of his life. As terrorism has been used as a means of proxy wars and their actors as puppets for othe A few years ago I was watching "60 Minutes " and they had a piece on Meir Dagan. My impression of the man seemed to be an independent thinker compared to his peers. Later on, my research into Operation Orchard lead to Dagan's involvement into the success of its mission. Sometime later this book was published and I wasn't fully aware of Harpoon had him involved or how much this became a biography of his life. As terrorism has been used as a means of proxy wars and their actors as puppets for other countries. Having an understanding of the involvement of the financial aspects of organized terror is important. Important enough to understand how non-profit organizations, government aid and fundraising has an impact on the safety of all citizens. Recommend reading.
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  • Jsavett1
    January 1, 1970
    I read this on the heels of Rise and Kill First. So, much of this book actually detailed things I’d just read there. It’s difficult to say how I would have responded to this book had I not read the former. There’s no going back!Because this book seeks to provide a more focused report on Mossad tactics and strategy in FINANCIAL terms, it is inherently limited; that’s why it’s strange that it repeats so much of Rise and Kill First, which seeks to be comprehensive.Nonetheless, this is a VERY intere I read this on the heels of Rise and Kill First. So, much of this book actually detailed things I’d just read there. It’s difficult to say how I would have responded to this book had I not read the former. There’s no going back!Because this book seeks to provide a more focused report on Mossad tactics and strategy in FINANCIAL terms, it is inherently limited; that’s why it’s strange that it repeats so much of Rise and Kill First, which seeks to be comprehensive.Nonetheless, this is a VERY interesting look into Meir Sagan’s revolutionary leadership of Mossad and his directives to target terrorist groups financially.
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  • Kenneth Timmerman
    January 1, 1970
    Nitsana and her co-author unwrap a previously-secret Israeli intelligence program to hit the terrorist-masters where it hurts: their bank accounts. Fascinating portrait of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, who I had the opportunity of meeting many years ago in Jerusalem. I would have liked to learn more about Nitsana's own success in the Arab Bank case, where she won a ground-breaking judgment on behalf of terror victims; but hey, I guess that remains proprietary information! Great work, Nitsana.
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  • Alex Smith
    January 1, 1970
    The first of three parts focused almost exclusively on a quasi biography of the main subject, Meir Dagan. Although he acted as an almost unbelievable example of best practices and critical thinking to solve major intelligence questions, his role could have been a chapter. More focus on the techniques rather than war stories would have made this a 4 or 5 star read.
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  • K C
    January 1, 1970
    Good read and following the news and Shurat hadin's work, it was fascinating to read about the Mossad's initiative that got it all started it, as well as the Mossad's behind the scene financial counter-terrorism operations.
  • David Guy
    January 1, 1970
    The bottom lineThe bottom line in fighting terrorism is 'Follow the Money'. Comprehensive yet the final chapter is missing. Not one word about Obama gifting Irans with billions of dollars.
  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    Very detailed account of how the Israelis got involved in setting up the vehicles through which to go after the terrorists by cutting off their illegally gotten funds that were transferred from all over the globe, including the US.
  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    As reviews by Naama and Kay suggest, I would have been content reading only the Preface and Afterward. However, for all the spy novel style & details, it was easy to read.
  • Stephen Boiko
    January 1, 1970
    It was all about follow the money!
  • Yves Farhi
    January 1, 1970
    Phenomenal book. War against evil terrorists must be fought with weapons and by the way it has been described in this book in other ways. Really cool insights in Meir Dagan leadership skills.
  • Eli Simon
    January 1, 1970
    Great book that uses a captivating bio of a top spy to highlight an alarming connection between terrorism, finances and drug cartels.
  • Jesse D
    January 1, 1970
    Zzzzz...
  • Joel Flamholz
    January 1, 1970
    Relatively well written. Very good review of Israel's fight against terrorism.
  • John Fritsche
    January 1, 1970
    A great book! Sheds light on the dark and sick world of terrorist enterprises and their supporters. The historical background is very thorough.
  • E Frank Bayer
    January 1, 1970
    Story was very interesting, great look into how terrorism and money are all tied together. Learned about the inner workings of the Mossad.
  • R
    January 1, 1970
    Fascinating
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