The Spy Who Fell to Earth (2019) Movie Script

[ringing tone]
[rustling against microphone]
[voicemail beeps]
ASHRAF MARWAN: [over phone]
Hello. - Hi.
Hello. About your book,
if you could call me back...
on my mobile. Thank you.
[hangs up]
[ringing tone]
[voicemail beeps]
MAN: Please, hello, can you
call me? It's about your book.
Thank you.
[hangs up]
[ringing tone, voicemail beeps]
MAN: Hello, hi, good afternoon.
If you can call me,
I'm the subject of your book.
Thank you.
[hangs up]
one o'clock, Ashraf Marwan,
an Egyptian super spy...
fell off the balcony...
in Carlton Terrace,
Central London.
The medics were directed
to a small rose garden,
he uttered a few
words and he died.
When I was told,
my mind was racing.
I asked myself, "Was he pushed?"
"Did he jump?"
The rumor was, especially in Egypt,
that it was not an accident.
It was a murder.
1948, in Palestine, Jews
declared the State of Israel.
Over the next day, Egypt and
the Arab neighbors invaded.
[bomb explodes]
[crowd clamoring]
So, for years, Israel and Egypt
hated each other.
And Ashraf Marwan was one
of the greatest modern spies
at the center of the conflict.
[indistinct chatter]
Ironically Israel regarded Marwan as their best agent ever.
He was the number one source of Israeli intelligence.
Few agents in history
provided such...
splendid information.
Out of this world.
His death is a mystery.
The rumor was it was a murder,
and just the day before he told
me that he feared for his life,
but who did it?
The Egyptian intelligence
killed Ashraf Marwan,
because he was a traitor.
The Israelis believe
that he was their man,
but he tricked the Israelis
into taking him seriously.
He served Egypt well.
Ashraf Marwan's wife, Mona,
she thought that he may have
been murdered by the Israelis.
And when I think about it now,
I'm still asking myself,
"Was I responsible?"
I was the one who
unmasked him to the world.
[church bells ringing]
June 27th, I got a phone call
about the mysterious death that
had happened just hours earlier.
Of course, I'm intrigued.
Who wouldn't be?
And as a journalist I wanted
to get to the bottom of it.
The most pressing, immediate
issue was how did he die?
Was it murder? Suicide?
Was it an accident?
So, this is the place
from which he fell.
He fell five floors down.
The family insisted that he
had a whole set of plans,
family functions to attend,
he had a business
meeting on that very day
in that building there.
That's why the family believes
that there was just no truth
to rumors that he could
have killed himself.
I wanted to get to the truth,
but that turned out to be
a lot trickier than
I first imagined.
DR. BREGMAN: Well, the day he died,
I was waiting for him to phone.
I thought that something is
wrong with the reception.
So, I went up the stairs to see
whether or not he left me a message.
But nothing.
I have always been interested
in Middle Eastern wars.
When I was in the
military it was known
there was a super spy who worked
with Israel's secret
intelligence service.
But the Israeli military
censorship made sure
that nothing is written about it.
A great secret.
Six Arabs killed here
in the West Bank, seven in Gaza.
[soldiers shouting indistinctly]
DR. BREGMAN: When the Palestinian
uprising of 1987 started...
[men shouting in
foreign language] was a turning point for me.
I saw Israeli soldiers
beating a Palestinian.
I said, "This is madness.
You are inflicting on the
Palestinians the same pain
that other nations have
inflicted on the Jews,
and I'm not coming back until
the violence has stopped."
"Big deal, Ahron Bregman
is not coming back..."
And I'd emigrate to the UK.
After I finished my PhD
on the Arab-Israeli conflict,
I joined the Department
of War Studies
at King's College London.
Have we discussed the
spy here in class or not?
Was it mentioned?
DR. BREGMAN: And I've published six
books you know nothing about...
It's a joke. Don't use it.
[Tommy laughs] I'm using that.
In 1998, I was a consultant
on a major documentary,
and I interviewed the director
of Military Intelligence
in Israel, General Eli Zeira.
When we finished the interview,
we were standing
in the corridor,
and what he said to me there
changed everything for me.
He said that the Mossad's
top spy was a double agent.
I was shocked to the core.
TOMMY: What were the implications
of the spy being a double?
If he was a double agent
during one of the most important
wars in Middle Eastern history,
then all the intelligence the
Israeli's based their decisions on
would be cast into doubt.
[indistinct chatter]
[man singing in Arabic]
Israel is dependent
on her intelligence.
They have to get it right always,
and if their best
spy misled them,
it will just ruin the reputation.
the intelligence service...
TOMMY: Okay, Amos.
...they have an interest...
TOMMY: What was at risk?
What was at stake?
DR. BREGMAN: keeping the story intact.
TOMMY: It's a sensitive subject.
The young Bregman
was uber-motivated.
A scoop like this was something
I'd always dreamt about,
but then I thought it might be
a very dangerous game.
[button clicks on camera]
[tape whirs]
[button clicks on camera]
AMOS GILBOA: Ashraf Marwan was...
the son of an army general,
and people see in that
a sign of social seniority.
He graduated in chemistry.
At the same time...
he met Mona, daughter
of Gamal Abdel Nasser...
President in Egypt.
They fell in love.
He knew how...
to jump to the good bed.
He married the daughter of
Nasser. The almighty Nasser.
Nasser was like
God for the Arabs.
[crowd cheering]
1967, this was a crisis
moment for Nasser.
Israel crippled the Egyptian
Air Force on the ground.
And then,
Egypt lost the Sinai Peninsula.
Egypt felt disbelief that this
could happen to us.
[indistinct chatter]
It was a dent in the dignity
of the country,
and the process of rebuilding
the army started
for one objective,
launching a war,
regaining the Sinai,
and regaining the sense of pride
which every Egyptian felt...
before 1967.
HAZEM KANDIL: Marwan entered
into the Nasser family
at this moment of crisis.
YOSSI MELMAN: He wants to be
important, but Nasser didn't entrust
into him the kind of missions
that Ashraf Marwan believed,
"Now when I marry into the family
I'll get them."
Nasser, he felt that this guy
did not want to marry the girl
for her personality,
he wanted to marry the daughter
of the President.
So, Nasser gave Ashraf Marwan a
junior position in the presidency.
It was like when you have
adversary politician,
you bring him close to keep him
under your eye,
rather than leave him free
to wreak havoc.
Ashraf felt in a way
demeaned, punished,
and made him resent Nasser.
So, he came to London
with his new wife.
But reports back home...
indicated that he was loving
an expensive lifestyle,
living beyond the means...
of the ordinary Egyptians.
DR. KANDIL: Nasser
lived a very frugal life
and he felt that it was
highly embarrassing.
Nasser shunted
them back to Cairo.
Ashraf felt that he was
handcuffed with Nasser.
DR. BREGMAN: So, he wants to take
revenge on his father-in-law.
[cameras clicking]
MALE REPORTER: Israel leaders
call it a total destruction
of Egypt's Sinai forces.
after the Six-Day War of '67...
the issue of a possible war
down the road with Egypt...
was the number one
priority of the Mossad.
[speaking indistinctly]
DAVID ARBEL: Every country,
every government
has to deal with the intentions
of our enemies,
and the more you know about it,
the better you can prevent a war.
[indistinct chatter]
So, military intelligence for the
Mossad was very, very important.
is responsible for...
collection and
special operations.
[automatic gunfire]
[glass shatters]
[men clamoring]
[silenced pistol firing]
This is not the CIA.
CIA deals with all the world.
He has agent in South America,
in Africa,
maybe in the Northern Pole,
I don't know.
Ev... All around the world.
Here, in Israel, it is focused.
The arch enemies.
TOMMY: Can you describe
for me your job, your role,
when you were
working in the field?
No, I prefer not.
SHABTAI SHAVIT: So, '67, at that moment,
we started to look for intelligence
that would either support, or...
or the opposite, the issue of war
down the road with Egypt.
[children shouting playfully]
TOMMY: Did you have any concerns
about the possible implications
of unmasking a spy?
Look, Tom, the Mossad
could be very dangerous
and unmasking one of the spies
could have endangered me,
but I had to know.
It was a risk, it was a gamble.
I am a bit reckless.
TOMMY: What did your wife
have to say about all this?
I knew that she
would be unhappy...
to see me involved
in such a thing.
She was much more responsible
and less reckless than me,
so I told her nothing
of my spy games.
I poured over hundreds
of articles and books
looking for clues
to see who he was.
And I read anything that
I could put my hands on.
And then a key book
came into my hand,
which is the biography
of Eli Zeira,
the man who said to me that
there was a double agent
who misled the Mossad.
Zeira writes about
an unnamed spy,
and then he mentioned
three people
who were sitting in
a meeting in Riyadh.
King Faisal of Saudi Arabia.
Sadat and a third man.
[camera clicks]
I was very suspicious
when Zeira did not mention
the name of the third man
in a chapter
where it's all about the spy.
And you ask yourself
"Why is it missing?"
TOMMY: So, the fact
that it was missing...
DR. BREGMAN: Yeah, exactly.
The fact that there was
a missing piece of information...
DR. BREGMAN: It was...
It was an editing thing, you see?
"Why is it missing?"
DR. BREGMAN: So, maybe the
name is not mentioned
because someone is
trying to hide the name.
But there is a reference,
Robinson, page 136.
136. And here is the third man,
Dr Ashraf Marwan.
When I saw it all my red lights
started flashing.
My gut was telling me
that his name was significant,
Ashraf Marwan.
It was an educated guess.
[motorbike accelerating]
And I sent a fax to Zeira,
hoping that he would react
and confirm the name.
I took a punt, but his reply was,
"I will not reveal."
And this was a setback.
[camera whirring]
But I wonder if
there was something
in the fact Zeira did not deny,
so I thought that maybe
I am on the right track.
...and refused to negotiate
until they were removed.
This was the position when
the Arab world was dealt a blow
from which it's still reeling.
[men chanting]
MALE REPORTER 2: Now the explosive
situation in the Middle East
has been further complicated
by the unexpected death of
Egypt's President Nasser.
This man, Anwar Sadat,
took over as president-elect.
[speaking Arabic] I swear
by Almighty God to uphold...
AMOS GILBOA: The big bosses
under the Nasser regime...
they were...
unsatisfied with Sadat.
[indistinct chatter]
There was a kind of rebellion...
[film camera whirring]
Ashraf was very cunning, smart.
Somehow Marwan got his hands
on an archive...
and turned it over to Sadat,
and Sadat used some of
the information in that archive
to put his enemies on trial.
[speaking Arabic] Something
personal? Or of a public nature?
[speaking Arabic] The truth
is in the court's hands.
DR. KANDIL: It was
very consequential
in Marwan's future
career to prove to Sadat
that his loyalty to
him can come at a price
of stabbing in the back
Nasser's closest aids.
[speaking Arabic] We must
make it clear to the public.
[arguing indistinctly]
AMOS GILBOA: And Sadat rewarded him. He appointed Ashraf
to be... the secretary of the Presidential Office.
[plane decelerating]
[indistinct chatter]
DR. KANDIL: He was part
of Sadat's inner circle.
[indistinct chatter]
[camera clicks]
At the time, he was not 30 yet,
and that is the youngest man
in the job ever.
But knowing Ashraf Marwan,
every step is calculated
to build for what comes after.
DR. BREGMAN: I was pretty sure
Ashraf Marwan was the spy,
but I needed a conformation.
So, I thought that perhaps
the editor of Zeira's book,
Rami Tali, could help
with the name of this spy.
[car horns honking]
Obviously, the editor discussed
the matter with Zeira,
so I devised a plan.
I then took a flight to Tel Aviv.
[indistinct chatter]
RAMI TALI: Ronnie Bregman,
he wanted to make sure
that he has the right name.
I knew the name,
but I told him, "Ronnie,
I don't know the name, but if I
knew it I would not tell you."
"I don't know the name,"
"Don't make me..."
This was how it was done.
Ten minutes into the conversation
when he was warmed up,
but not yet tired of me,
I looked him straight in the eye.
And Ronnie said...
"I know the name
of the super spy."
And I said, "Good for you,"
and he said...
Ashraf Marwan was the super spy.
I was taken aback.
His response was unmistakable.
As far as I remember,
I did not acknowledge it.
He looked away and smiled.
How do you say the
English saying?
That butter would
not melt in my mouth.
Butter very much
melts in my mouth.
So, uh, when he approached me
with the name...
[muttering indistinctly] Yeah,
it was some kind of
an acknowledgment.
DR. BREGMAN: I returned
to London a happy man.
I had the name.
I was delighted, really.
But I had to confirm
that he was a double agent.
TOMMY: Okay, so how did the Mossad
get involved with Ashraf Marwan?
He was a walk-in.
[car horns honking]
YOSSI MELMAN: One day in London,
he decided to call
the Israeli embassy.
This is how moments
in history are made.
They are made out of pure luck,
because when he called the embassy,
luckily enough, the head of
Mossad stations in Europe,
Shmuel Goren,
was visiting the station.
[speaking Hebrew] I was the
head of Mossad in Europe.
Somebody called.
As soon as I heard the name,
it immediately rang a bell,
but I said, "No, it cannot be
that someone like him
would come to us.
TOMMY: When recruiting
a new agent,
what are the risks to
you, to the Mossad?
To the Mossad, first that
he might be a double agent.
Number two, he's a liar.
And number three is that
he can surrender you,
which is very dangerous.
But being an intelligence
officer, if you are not...
suspicious as part of your
culture and character,
you stand a fair chance not to be a
successful intelligence officer.
And in the case of walk-ins,
it is even more important
to be suspicious.
But he said, "The son-in-law of the
Egyptian president is a walk-in?
We cannot miss that opportunity."
SHMUEL GOREN: It was a gamble,
because the difference
in cases like these...
is between receiving the Medal
of Honor or facing disgrace.
So, we improvised...
against the official protocol.
And we scheduled the meeting
at the hotel that same day.
The conversation was short.
He gave us authentic minutes
from meetings in Moscow...
with the most high-ranking
Russian officials
and the most high-ranking
Egyptian officials.
To be a fly on the wall in these kinds of
meetings is the dream of any intelligence agent.
My task was to go over
the material he provided,
and we couldn't find anything
which gave us any doubt
about his credibility.
TOMMY: Okay, so what exactly
did you do to be certain?
Listen, there's no point to...
to... get into all the
details, but...
there was no one,
or no one case,
where anybody said, explicitly,
in a very determined way,
that he was not authentic.
TOMMY: Why would Marwan,
now that Nasser was gone,
and his ambition was being fulfilled,
he was the right-hand man
of the president...
Why would he want to sell secrets
to Israel?
Why did he do it?
To feel important,
maybe to take revenge
on his father-in-law,
and thirdly, financial reward.
All in all, the Mossad paid him $1
million in the '70s, early '70s.
It's a huge amount of money.
[cameras clicking]
TOMMY: Everything
the Israelis say
suggests it was resentment
towards Nasser,
hubris, money...
And that doesn't add up to me.
You have to look at
the Ashraf Marwan angle.
"I am a big shot."
TOMMY: How did Marwan
spying for you work exactly?
[cameras clicking]
He accompanied Sadat...
to meetings with leaders.
[film camera whirring]
[camera clicks]
He listened and was able to
give us the inside information.
DR. BREGMAN: When the
Mossad met with Marwan,
the meeting,
it take place in London.
Marwan would provide
his documents.
[intercom buzzes]
He would get his money,
then he would leave first...
and the Israeli will leave after him. What was
so valuable about the information he gave you?
The most important pieces of information
which Ashraf Marwan gave Israel...
He brought the order of battle
of the Egyptian Army.
It means that Israel would know
how Egypt were going to strike.
And they would attack us only if
they have enough air cover
provided by the Russians.
SHMUEL GOREN: [speaking Hebrew]
It is very rare material.
It was, in my opinion,
an earthquake.
It was...
Beautiful. Really.
[indistinct chatter]
RAJEEV SYAL: I tried to piece together
what happened to Ashraf Marwan.
Was it murder?
Was it suicide?
It is very interesting
to be here.
He was on this balcony here
and he landed in these bushes.
The family had always said
that the trajectory of his fall
was such that he fell away from the building to
such an extent that he must have been thrown.
You can only really see it
when you're in the garden.
You can start to see why
the family were arguing
it was bizarre
that he landed several feet out
into these bushes.
And when I spoke to
Ashraf Marwan's wife,
Mona, she thought that he may have
been murdered by the Israelis.
Based on this information,
it was difficult to believe
that he had just fallen
out as part of an accident.
DR. BREGMAN: I gathered a huge
amount of data during my research.
This is Eli Zeira
when he was young.
He was a good-looking man
and very clever.
Very clever.
I had the head of Israeli
Military Intelligence telling me
this spy was a double agent.
This could only make Israel
intelligence look bad,
so I had to take notice of it.
And then I uncovered something big
behind the meetings in London.
Marwan was reckless,
he would just do stupid things,
take chances.
[dial tone]
He would phone the Israelis,
the embassy, directly.
Ignoring the careful system whereby
you should phone them indirectly
using a third party,
a lady in London.
Of course, all of the lines
could have been taped
by other agencies, by the MI6.
And he would arrive in meetings
driving the car of the
Egyptian Embassy in London.
The fact that Marwan was so
confident to do such things
in the open perhaps points
to the fact that he knew
that it's okay,
he was a double agent
and the Egyptians will accept it.
So, my conclusion is that
General Eli Zeira was correct.
The spy was a double agent.
TOMMY: Ronnie,
I've spoken to the Mossad
and what they are telling me
is pretty compelling.
I think that Ashraf Marwan
was not the person
the Israelis thought he was.
[button clicks on camera]
[tape whirs]
TOMMY: Okay for sound?
TOMMY: Abdallah, Israel believe
Ashraf gave them everything.
Good for them.
Ashraf Marwan, I believe that
he served Egypt well.
He did it under
instructions from Sadat,
he did not do it out
of his own free will.
Albeit, he was prepared to play
the dangerous game.
When Sadat became president
of Egypt, his first priority
was to get back the lands
Egypt lost in 1967.
[praying in Arabic]
ABDALLAH HAMOUDA: It was a holistic
movement within the country,
everyone coming together
for one objective,
launching a war, regaining the Sinai,
revitalizing the Arab world,
and creating a new spirit
for the future.
[imam preaching in Arabic]
But knowing that the Israelis had
weapons from the United States
and western countries,
it had to have some
cunning in the plan.
[imam singing]
And Sadat has played this
in the most perfect way.
[indistinct chatter]
Sadat wanted a very
convincing agent
to feed information
to the Israelis.
Ashraf Marwan was the best actor
to play the part.
[imam preaching in Arabic]
[indistinct chatter]
Everything was, like, stage-managed
to the highest possible standard.
[indistinct chatter]
They studied very well
the Israeli mentality
to create the image
to fool the Israelis.
And he did not go to
them on his knees.
He went to them full of himself.
The Ashraf Marwan angle...
a playboy, fun-loving
with a sense of pride.
"I am a big shot."
And he was very successful
in convincing them
that he is serious
about working for them.
Ashraf Marwan supplied the Israelis with
the Egyptian preparations for the war,
but not complete,
but the Israelis were very
happy with what he gave them.
So, he was accepted. [Shmuel Goren
speaking Hebrew] The information we got
comes along once
in a hundred years.
And they call him the...
"the agent of the century."
All under instructions
from Sadat.
TOMMY: There's this
double agent theory
and I would like your opinion.
[speaking Hebrew]
No other country in the world
would allow this kind of material to
fall into the hands of their enemies.
He's a traitor.
He's just a simple traitor.
That's it.
TOMMY: How did the
information Marwan gave you
influence your thinking?
[cameras clicking]
SHABTAI SHAVIT: Marwan, he reported one
of the conditions for going to war...
was long-range bombers.
And the Russians,
they hesitated to provide
the Egyptians deep
bombing capabilities.
So, the Israeli evaluators
of the intelligence
were in the notion that
they are not going to fight us.
The underlying message
of all the information
given by Marwan
was that Egypt will not attack
before she got certain weapons.
[indistinct chatter]
But what the Israelis
didn't know...
was that Sadat decided
to go to war against them...
even without the weapons.
What Sadat needed
was to surprise the Israelis,
to catch them unprepared.
The key issue was how
to surprise the Israelis.
And Egypt felt the right time
is to attack them on Yom Kippur,
which is a holy day in Israel,
when the Israelis
don't listen to the radio,
television is off.
They are just insulated in the
synagogues and in the houses.
[birds tweeting]
On the 6th of October, 1973,
the Egyptian units on the ground
were told, "Now!"
[explosions, water crashing]
DR. BREGMAN: 100,000
Egyptian troops
start crossing the Suez Canal.
[speaking Arabic] Shoot!
Igniting their spirit
and mind and a will to win.
[shouting indistinctly, cheering]
DR. BREGMAN: On the other side,
there are only 452 Israeli
soldiers. [Gunfire]
The Israelis are caught
unprepared, off-balanced.
[helicopter flying overhead]
MALE REPORTER: It did succeed in crushing the myth
of Israel's invincibility,
and the first Israeli surrenders
were moments of rare triumph
for the Egyptian commanders.
The Egyptian surprise
was very successful.
[indistinct chatter]
CAMERAMAN: [speaking Arabic]
Just like that...
[engine accelerating]
[car horns blaring]
The synagogue was full of people
all around here.
We started seeing
traffic on the streets.
The army came.
People were simply taken
onto the army vehicles.
I can tell you, it was all chaos.
[knuckles crack]
I was mobilized, recruited...
then I headed to Sinai.
We believed that the
Israeli army is invincible
and the Arabs are inferior,
and that it would be
a stroll in the park,
but we realized that,
actually, it's not a joke.
[tank gun fires]
[tank tracks squeaking]
[gun turret whirring]
[fighter jets soaring]
[mounted gun firing]
[heavy artillery firing]
[man panting]
We were bombarded from the air,
we were bombarded from the land.
[automatic gunfire]
[gun turret whirring]
We fought almost face-to-face
with Egyptian soldiers.
They were good fighters.
I saw people dying around me.
I was frightened all the time.
You think that this is the end.
AMOS GILBOA: They took
five kilometers of Sinai,
and they dug in,
and they rebuffed everything.
DAVID ARBEL: And actually,
our defense minister, Dayan,
came out on television
and talked to the nation,
and explained to us that
the situation is bad indeed.
[speaking Hebrew]
The war is difficult.
Very harsh collisions,
on the ground and in the sky.
He looked down and said...
[speaking Hebrew] And we
are fighting for our lives.
Us, fighting for our life?
We were the heroes in 1967.
What happened now?
So, him on television
was a difficult moment in Israel.
[soldiers chanting in Arabic]
When the war was over...
[crowd cheering]
...the Egyptian people
were extremely happy.
[cameras clicking]
Can I tell you something
which not many people know?
During the 1973 war days,
the rate of crime
dwindled to zero.
There was no crime.
No of fence at all, everyone...
united with everyone.
The one goal they had was
to regain their sense of pride
and dignity.
Ashraf Marwan...
[camera clicks]
...he enabled Egypt to gain
the surprise advantage.
TOMMY: The Egyptians are adamant
they got the jump on you in '73,
because Ashraf Marwan misled you.
But it's just the opposite, he
didn't... they didn't surprise us.
They gave us an early alert.
[button clicks on camera]
[tape whirring, button clicks]
SHABTAI SHAVIT: Before the war...
Ashraf Marwan,
he asked for a meeting,
gave the code word: "chemicals."
And he told him,
"Tomorrow, I'll be in London.
I want Zvika Zamir,
the director of the
Mossad, to come."
[Big Ben chiming]
The meeting took place at about
ten o'clock p.m.
Zvika sat scribbling the essence
of the story.
Ashraf Marwan, he said,
"Tomorrow the war
would be at sunset."
he sent the early warning
to his personal assistant.
It was disseminated to the...
[intercom buzzing]
...director of
Military Intelligence.
prepare ourselves...
for the attack.
Ashraf, he gave the plan!
[button clicks on camera]
TOMMY: Wait a second...
Ashraf said the war would start at sunset,
and yet the surprise attack was at two...
Wasn't that misleading?
[stutters] I'll answer it!
See, I saw the full report.
[tape whirring]
[button clicks on camera]
The Syrians,
they wanted the attack to be
in the morning.
[indistinct chatter]
On October the 2nd,
the Egyptian minister of war
reached a compromise.
not sunset,
ten minutes to two
o'clock, afternoon."
he didn't know about the change.
Because he was not in Egypt.
He went on a mission.
DR. BREGMAN: There are those
who say that Marwan did not know
that war starts
four hours earlier.
I don't buy it, I think
that he was just too close...
[tape whirring, button clicks] the leadership not
to know such facts.
[button clicks]
The fact that he said that
it will start at sunset
was the climax of him misleading
the Mossad and Israel.
But Mossad agents have
a very clear motivation
to tell the world
that he was genuine.
So, I was convinced Ashraf
Marwan misled the Israelis.
[button clicks on camera]
Now I wanted to write
a book about him...
but without the confirmation
I couldn't just blame someone
of being a spy or a double agent.
And they wanted to
hear it from Ashraf.
I wanted to hear
the story from him.
So, I published A
History of Israel.
I wanted to tease Ashraf
out so I wrote in the book,
without mentioning his name,
that he was
a close family member
of President Nasser
and that the Israelis used to
refer to him as "the Son-in-Law."
By the way, the Israelis never
called him "the Son-in-Law,"
this was my invention in
order for him to react.
I sent him the book with a
dedication to Ashraf Marwan,
a hero of Egypt,
but no response.
This is, by the way, Tommy,
a very boring book...
except for this story. [Chuckles]
Then, a breakthrough.
An Egyptian journalist contacted
Ashraf Marwan asking him,
"Are you the person at the heart
of Bregman's story?"
To which he responded,
"Bregman's book is
a stupid detective story."
In a...
childish sort of
way, I was upset.
So, when another Egyptian
journalist contacted me...
I confirmed, Ashraf Marwan,
he was the Son-in-Law.
A perfect spy,
an Egyptian national hero...
for misleading Israel,
and they should name
a street after him in Cairo.
[birds tweeting]
I was obsessed with it.
And if you have
something so important...
[indistinct chatter]
...and you don't
tell your wife...
[music playing on stereo]
...I'm sure it does have an
impact on the relationship.
FAMILY MEMBERS: ...two, one!
A few weeks later I picked up
a copy of El a Ram il a Rabi.
Oh, that's the interview.
"A perfect spy and
a national hero...
Ashraf Marwan"
And it caused a huge
stir in the Middle East.
"The agent is exposed."
I saw my picture in the
book and my heart sank.
It was quite shocking for me.
I wondered what would be
the reaction of Marwan,
of the Egyptians, of the Mossad.
It was very worrying.
[phone ringing]
The next day, I'm in the garden.
[phone continues ringing]
Through the window,
I can see my wife banging.
"You have a telephone call..."
I pick up the phone,
and someone says, "How are you?"
It's an Arabic accent.
"And who are you?" I ask.
"I am the person
you've written about."
I'm taken aback.
He says, "We should meet up."
I was about to meet up with
one of the greatest spies
in modern history.
Quite a dangerous exercise.
So, I was concerned.
I took some precautions, I left
a message to my wife saying,
"I am meeting Ashraf Marwan."
And I walked
to the Intercontinental Hotel,
looking back from time-to-time.
He was already there.
I've never seen him before,
and I was quite surprised
to see how tall he was,
well-dressed with a scarf,
a red scarf, pacing up and down.
And although we never met before,
we immediately
recognized each other.
"How are you?" I ask.
"I'm ill," he says.
"I just had a few operations."
We ordered coffees,
and when the coffee
did not come to our table,
he got up and went
and fetched it for us,
which was a big mistake.
He could have put
something inside,
this was my only
mistake in the meeting.
I said to him I had one big
question I wanted to ask him.
Why did you say sunset when
the war started at 2:00 p.m.?
He smiled and said, "What
are a few hours between us?"
[camera clicks]
[Dr. Bregman laughs]
This was a real admission
that he was misleading Israel.
But then he added that he is
concerned about his safety...
[man speaking
indistinctly over radio]
...and it was left at that.
It was amazing,
and I was very happy to be alive.
General Eli Zeira was correct,
the mysterious spy who worked
for Israel was a double agent.
This is bullshit!
Well, he's wrong!
TOMMY: Tell me what you really...
Tell me what you really think!
I think Ronnie is wrong.
What Eli Zeira was doing
was spreading fake news
four decades before
Trump came to power,
and invented that term.
[button clicks on
camera, tape whirs]
[button clicks]
MALE REPORTER: This was the day
when Israel mourned her dead,
the latest casualty
FIGURES: 1,854 killed.
The impact of the surprise
was, for me,
a thing that haunts
me to this day.
Certainly, I have anger.
If we have someone like Marwan,
who told us and warned us
a day before to prepare the army,
our intelligence
really fucked up.
Of course, I'm angry.
Very much so.
[crowd clamoring]
[indistinct shouting]
RAMI TALI: After the war,
there was an inquiry committee
for the failure
of the military intelligence.
It was the responsibility
of the head of
the Military Intelligence,
General Zeira, to give the alert,
and he did not.
Eli Zeira, when he was asked,
"Why you didn't do anything
with such tremendous
early warning?"
he say, "I didn't want to bother
the chief of staff, he was busy."
RAMI TALI: Because Eli Zeira,
he thought they would attack us
only if they have enough air
cover provided by the Russians,
and the air cover is not yet
ready. [Cameras clicking]
Eli Zeira didn't believe
Ashraf Marwan's warnings.
The inquiry committee,
they concluded Eli Zeira...
[camera clicks]
...bore the main responsibility
for the failure in the war.
Eli Zeira was ousted
from active service.
And he left the country. He
went with his family to the US.
About 13 years after the war,
Eli published his book.
He came to the
conclusion that Marwan
was a double agent and his real employers
were the Egyptians and not the Israelis.
he want to find a scapegoat.
[indistinct chatter]
All the stories about
the double agent,
it stems from Eli Zeira.
He want to justify himself.
I am furious about him.
[claps palms against thighs]
What can I do?
TOMMY: I actually spoke to Zeira yesterday. Zeira
said, "All that is facts." [Shabtai Shavit muttering]
What do you want to prove?
I'll, uh... I'll, uh...
I'll throw it away.
TOMMY: He said, "On October 4th, at early
afternoon, the Soviets started..."
Can you stop here?
I'll tell you...
[indistinct chatter]
YOSSI MELMAN: When Zeira wanted
to rehabilitate himself,
he started talking to
journalists, writers,
and he gave them some hints.
One day he asked
me for a meeting.
He tried to feed me also
with this false bullshit,
uh, of double agent.
I listened to him and I told him,
"Eli, you are wrong.
You are feeding
false information
just for your pride,
hubris, ego, whatever,"
and I didn't write the story
because I have more integrity.
But why kill a good
story with the facts?
And Ronnie Bregman
believed Eli Zeira...
published the name in El a Ran
and spread he was a double agent.
month after the murder...
there was a major development.
There were three witnesses,
and they were sitting in a room
which overlooked the balcony,
just 20 yards from his home.
So, I presume witness Joseph Rapasi
would have been sitting here,
because he had the direct
view of the balcony.
He saw from the corner
of his eye something fall
but they then rushed
over to the window,
looked down and could
see Ashraf Marwan's body.
And it was then that he
saw two shadowy figures,
Middle Eastern appearance
looking over the balcony.
I flew to Hungary and
met Rapasi in Budapest,
and he did confirm to me
that that was his story,
which, of course,
deepened the mystery.
At the time,
it was a major development,
because it looked
as if it could be,
if they were people of
Middle Eastern appearance,
maybe they could be
Egyptian secret services,
and it did fuel speculation about
who had possibly killed him.
After the meeting in the
Intercontinental Hotel in London,
Ashraf, he would phone
from time to time.
I think he was... lonely.
He could not have discussed
it with Mona, his wife,
he could not have discussed
his spy games
with his kids or friends,
so, ironically, he had me,
the person who exposed
him in the first place.
Ashraf had strange habits.
He would phone me and keep quiet...
[rustling against microphone]
...listening to my voice
at the other end of the line,
putting down the phone,
ring again and start
a conversation.
The more Ashraf asked personal
questions about family and kids,
the more concerned
I became for him.
Because as long as he was
the Son-in-Law with no face,
I did not care about
him as a human being.
But now I had a
relationship with him,
I knew about his operations,
about the family, about the kids,
that I became very worried that
something might happen to him,
that perhaps the Egyptians
would not buy into my story
of him being their perfect spy,
the double agent,
and they would try to hurt him,
or perhaps the Mossad
might do a stupid thing.
I spent sleepless nights concerned
about what could happen.
I thought that if anything happened
to him it would be on my conscience,
and ironically, from trying
to unmask this super spy,
I started looking for
ways to protect him.
Anything which was said
about him, to report to him,
so he could take precautions.
All my work, my lectures, my writing,
my family, all was put aside.
He became the first priority.
By that time, I was so worried
that something would happen to
him that I would just look for
anything written about him, and he would get the articles
and usually just phone back and ask a few questions,
because most of
them were in Hebrew.
On one occasion something
was published in Israel,
the article is about
Ashraf Marwan shaking hands
with Egypt's President Mubarak.
And the title is,
"The man...
There is Mossad's man in Cairo."
"And why did Mubarak
hug the person
who is regarded as
the best Mossad agent in Egypt?"
I thought the Egyptians
might want to have revenge.
I sent it to Ashraf,
and when he got it,
he phoned me from a taxi...
and he just shouted
and actually cried.
Why are they doing it to me?
They, the Mossad,
is trying to drive a wedge
between me and Mubarak,
and this is their revenge
for me misleading them.
He was so upset
that even I became very upset.
TOMMY: Do you think he was upset
because Israel's story was a lie?
Yes. And then he said,
"There was no one spy,
we were a group of 40
people whose task it was
to feed the Israelis."
[indistinct chatter]
"There was no single double
agent. There was Egypt."
He told me about the medals
he received from Sadat.
Wow. It was huge.
I couldn't believe it.
But he was scared.
He told me he feared for his
life, and I just realized
what a stupid thing it was
to unmask a living spy.
TOMMY: But Ronnie, you told
me that the higher value
of unmasking Marwan was about
staying true to history,
and having an accurate
record of what happened.
DR. BREGMAN: The truth of the
matter... when I unmasked Marwan,
I couldn't care
less about history,
I just cared about
a huge scoop that I had.
[birds tweeting]
He wanted, as he put
it, the story to die.
[theme music playing]
Let's open up another chapter
of this conversation
that will be published.
Ashraf Marwan,
Dr Ashraf Marwan...
You think he's a double agent.
But everyone who checked up on the
issue says there is no chance in hell!
They say he was not a double
agent, he was our agent.
Zeira published a new
version of his book,
and to promote the book,
he went to a television studio
and he said...
Regarding Marwan,
he gave us excellent information,
right up until the time of war,
then he fucked us over.
[theme music playing]
An interview with Commander Eli Zeira here
on this show about the Yom Kippur War
made an earthquake
in the intelligence community.
Head of the Mossad, Zvi Zamir,
answers back.
Zamir called him a liar.
"You lie."
He, Eli Zeira,
is censoring information!
He releases information
that reflects,
you know what,
his sick state of mind!
[cameras clicking]
took him to court for libel,
so Zamir countered by taking
Zeira to court for libel.
So, there were two libel cases.
The Mossad realized that
it's getting out of hand.
These two elderly gentlemen
which were compared
to those who are
sitting on the balcony
in the market shops, quarreling
and spilling secrets...
So, the Mossad said,
"Let's go to arbitration."
DR. BREGMAN: I was invited to the
arbitration by General Eli Zeira,
who paid for my flight
ticket, by the way.
Zeira wanted me to tell the judge
that he was not my source,
which was correct.
But the judge asked me about
Zeira's book, to which I said,
it was an important source."
The lawyer of the head of
the Mossad took out this book
and waved it in the air.
I understood that was
a big mistake to admit...
that the book was my source,
because for the judge,
the book and Eli Zeira
were basically the same.
So stupid to be brought
there all the way from London
to give testimony to
protect Zeira, and, in fact,
I was the one who put,
indirectly, the blame on Zeira
by saying that his book was one
of my most important sources.
It was very
embarrassing, in fact.
TOMMY: After all that...
Yeah. [Laughs]
It's amazing.
It's not amazing, Tommy.
It's terrible.
Everyone thinks that I'm clever.
I was so stupid.
And Zeira lost.
[car horns honking]
And then came a big mistake.
The judge wrote a report
where openly he stated
that Ashraf Marwan
was a Mossad agent.
This is the report of the judge,
Zeira versus Zamir.
Here, look, Ashraf's name
is mentioned many times,
which was terrible.
Here they say there
was a top agent...
who was handled by the Mossad.
"The agent, or Marwan..."
And they expose
him, his name, here.
So, he is mentioned in
this report so many times.
As long as a historian, Ahron Bregman,
said what he said about Marwan,
this was bad but not
the end of the world.
But the moment a judge says...
"the agent, Marwan,"
this was official.
When I saw it,
the report, online,
I nearly fell off my chair.
His life was in real danger.
I sent a fax message to
Ashraf Marwan to phone me.
I collected my son, put him
in front of the television.
The telephone answering
machine was flashing.
received today at 1:52 p.m.
And I was taken aback when
I heard Ashraf's own voice.
Hello. About your book,
if you could call me back...
on my mobile. Thank you.
It was very unusual.
Ashraf was a real spy,
spies don't leave messages...
[button clicks]
...and then a second message.
[button clicks]
Hello, can you call me?
It's about your book. Thank you.
[recording ends]
To return the call using the...
[button clicks]
DR. BREGMAN: I could see that he was...
[tape fast-forwarding]
...under pressure.
Hello, can you call me?
It's about your book.
Thank you.
Almost one after the other.
received today at 3:11 p.m.
hi, good afternoon.
If you could call me,
I'm the subject of your book.
Thank you.
To listen to the message again...
[button clicks]
I've known him for five years.
This was the first time
that he left messages
on my answering machine.
I took out my old tape recorder
and I, for the first time,
decided to record
the conversation.
I dialed the number,
my finger was shaking.
[ringing tone]
He picked up the phone.
[rustling against microphone]
DR. BREGMAN: [on audio recording]
Hello, my friend.
I'm okay, and how are you?
Yes, sure. Absolutely.
Yes, yes. Absolutely, yes.
He asked me to phone him again.
"Put it down."
DR. BREGMAN: [on audio recording]
And two minutes later...
DR. BREGMAN: [in scene] I'm talking
to myself two minutes later...
and he is not answering,
which was strange.
I was very concerned that he
said to me, "Phone me again,"
and then I tried again...
So, something
is happening in the room
when I am talking to him.
You see, I am waiting for him.
DR. BREGMAN: [on audio recording]
And two minutes later...
Third time.
What's happening in the room?
Are you there, you know?
I phoned him, he said,
"Phone me again."
I'm trying and trying and trying.
[ringing tone]
DR. BREGMAN: [on audio recording]
Hi, hello.
No, no, no. Don't worry.
So, um, the report of the judge
came out...
and there are details there.
This is the bottom line.
Ashraf wanted the story to die,
what he gets here is a
report from me that his story
is very much alive,
and I'm sure that
he is very stressed.
I am sure that he
is very worried.
It's awful for him.
DR. BREGMAN: [on audio recording]
Are you in England?
[Ashraf Marwan
speaking inaudibly]
DR. BREGMAN: Tomorrow, I will be in
town. I will be at King's College.
If you want to meet, we can meet,
but it's up to you.
Okay, my friend. All the best.
Bye-bye. Bye-bye.
[hangs up]
I am shaking.
This is one of the rare events
where people pay with their lives.
He paid with his life,
and he didn't deserve it.
death of Ashraf Marwan,
Ronnie was in shock.
DR. BREGMAN: I felt big pain.
It was very painful when he died.
I spent hours in the mountains
thinking about it,
reflecting about it.
His death was my
failure to protect him.
This is how I looked at it.
interview Ronnie Bregman.
We had a very lengthy conversation,
he said, "Maybe it's my fault."
Then we talked a lot in details
with all these arguments
which I raised before.
At the end of it, Ronnie told me,
"You know, Yossi? You are right.
I don't believe anymore
that he was a double agent,
you convinced me."
ZVI ZAMIR: Eli had a clique
of journalists surrounding him.
And among them, one historian.
If you ask me,
and I'm not just saying this,
these people are disgusting.
Because these people
distort the truth.
[crowd clamoring]
AMOS GILBOA: Yeah, the funeral.
They asked me, "Okay,
he got such an Egypt funeral.
With all the leadership
coming with black suits.
His widow stand there. All the
high echelon passed by her,
kissing her or whispering..."
They asked me, "How could it
be that this is a traitor?"
I watched many mafia movies.
When the mafia killed
one of their members,
all the dons are passing
by the widow, whispering,
"We will give you money,"
"We will give you money."
The funeral of Ashraf Marwan...
reminds me the same.
[indistinct chatter]
RAJEEV SYAL: This is Westminster Coroner Court
where there was a three-day
hearing to decide a verdict
on the death of Ashraf Marwan.
During the inquest, it was mentioned
he had been writing his memoirs.
I had seen where
the memoirs were supposed
to have been stored on the shelf
and they'd disappeared,
according to the family,
on the day that he died.
Now, in those memoirs he was
expected to discuss his role
in the October War.
Of course, he was going to reject
the allegation that
he was a Mossad agent,
but they'd disappeared,
according to the family.
DR. BREGMAN: The Marwan
family, through their lawyer,
asked me to appear
before the coroner.
I was sitting where the coroner
listened to the testimonies
and it was quite confusing,
and my mind was telling me,
"Wow, it was a murder."
And then a minute later,
"No, it was an accident."
And then, "No, it was a suicide."
And to sit there with the family,
at the back of my mind,
there was the question,
"What was my responsibility?"
It was a very
unpleasant experience.
There was a three-day
hearing to decide,
and at the end of it,
the coroner handed down
an open verdict on his death.
Which the family were
very pleased about,
because it allowed the family to rule out suicide.
I did feel for Mona, she was devastated.
[speaking Arabic] Madame Mona, what
was the hardest moment in your life?
[speaking Arabic] Two moments...
[cheering] ...the death of
my father and my mother,
and the loss of Ashraf.
But at the end of the day,
as his wife, I lost him,
but at the same
time, I feel grateful
that I could be with him
for 30 years.
[call to prayer]
[speaking Arabic] So if he
was in touch with Israel,
then it was out of orders
from the Egyptian side?
[speaking Arabic] This is
not even to be questioned;
I am not going to defend
something that I don't need to.
This is something that I
am sure of 100 percent,
not even just 100 percent...
Everyone fought
in his or her way.
DR. KANDIL: Ashraf Marwan in
Egypt is regarded as a patriot
who worked for Sadat to
deceive the Israelis.
Basically, by giving Egypt a
four-hour lead in the 1973 war,
but Israel regard him
as a national hero.
Double is very hard to believe.
In my opinion, he was ours.
DR. KANDIL: The Israeli side of
things is supported by evidence,
the Egyptian side has yet
to present its own record,
and only when both of them
are available can we decide
which is the more authentic
version of the story.
The question is: Why is the
Egyptian Intelligence Services,
50 years down the line, not
releasing any shred of evidence
about Ashraf Marwan?
The fact that we do
not have any evidence
is really not about
Ashraf Marwan.
It is about the fact that if the
Egyptians release any documents,
it will establish a precedent that
the public can have a say on how
the Egyptian State
should be transparent,
that it should be accountable,
and the Egyptian State
doesn't want to establish
this precedent at all.
Even though, by not revealing
anything about Ashraf Marwan,
it can be still raising
suspicion that, in fact,
he was an Israeli spy
rather than a double agent.
The Ashraf Marwan story,
this is not the real story.
This is a side story of
something that is much bigger.
The Egyptian people,
they want to know the truth.
[indistinct chatter]
DR. BREGMAN: We have the
full report of the meeting
between Zamir and Ashraf Marwan
just released by the Israelis.
There are five pages,
enough information
for the two schools of thought
to find enough elements
to support their own theory.
I always believed Ashraf
was a double agent,
I never doubted that.
I don't understand why
he's still sticking
to this bullshit theory
of a double agent.
I can understand that
maybe at the beginning
he was under this spell and
the impression of Eli Zeira.
Fine. But then,
after he already admitted
in our conversation,
he was almost crying.
I don't know.
It's an enigma for me.
TOMMY: Yossi told me
that he convinced you
Ashraf was not a double agent.
I don't think that
this was the case.
Yossi believes in what he
believes, along with the Mossad.
The truth, it's in the
eye of the beholder.
that he is not ready to...
face the real story and to...
to have the courage and the guts
to say, "I was mistaken,"
it's his problem
with his conscience.
AMOS GILBOA: Unmasking the name
of a human source,
it's a sin.
TOMMY: What would
you say to him?
"Go to hell, bastard!"
Really. "Go to hell, bastard!"
"How dare you?"
DAVID ARBEL: Because you don't
put in danger a human being
because you want to be famous.
DR. BREGMAN: When it comes
to the story of Ashraf Marwan
there is no ego in me.
The Mossad, they can't give up on
their story of Ashraf.
And when I'm in bed at night,
as you put it,
I don't really think about
whether or not he was double.
I lost interest in this
question, Tommy.
It's about the pain
which I inflicted on him
in unmasking him.
TOMMY: I just want you
to ponder a question, though,
is still believing
that he's a double agent,
is it not easier to believe that,
because then everything
you went through
would at least then
not be for nothing?
TOMMY: What impact did
this have on your marriage?
Of course, I divorced,
but it was not because of
the Marwan story.
But I think, in hindsight, it does
have impact, because it's a secret.
My then wife, when she
came to know about it,
she had the common sense to tell
me that it will end in tears.
But it was,
of course... it was too late.
And by that time, the train
already left the station.
Maybe your fish,
they want to have more food.
They love food.
My fish, if I open this
one, they jump.
TOMMY: Do they?
They are guppies.
You know, guppies like to jump.
But with them they jump
and I can save them...
[Tommy laughs]
...because I just bring them
from the floor and put them back.
Look. Look how many of them.
FEMALE REPORTER: This afternoon
historic documents
concluding the Treaty of Peace
between the Arab Republic of Egypt
and the State of
Israel will be signed.
It's better to have
the three of us together.
Very good.
[all laughing]
[speaking indistinctly]
I'm so proud of both of you.
God bless you both.
ANWAR SADAT: Thank you,
Mr. President.