Analysis

Israel/Iran: Escalating Rhetoric, Leaks Over Iran Attack Plan
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanks retiring Mossad Director Meir Dagan for his service to the nation, January 2, 2011. The Netanyahu government this week accused Dagan and another former intelligence official of leaking Israeli planning for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. (RONEN ZVULUN/AFP/Getty Images)
November 4, 2011
| Security
| Middle East and North Africa
Summary
Over the last week, the possibility of an Israeli air strike against Iran’s nuclear program has dominated the Israeli press and refocused public debate. Official statements, Israeli military activities, and accusations of leaks against former senior intelligence officers leaking against a possible attack has the country on edge and has triggered an unusual public debate reflecting deep divisions within the Israeli government.

 Accusations of Leaks by Former Intelligence Officials

 

Tensions grew in official Israeli circles late this week after the Netanyahu government accused former senior intelligence officials of leaking Israeli government discussions of a possible attack on Iran, allegedly to prevent such an attack from taking place.  Yesterday, the usually tight lipped and behind-the-scenes minister Benny Begin and Deputy Prime Minister Yaalon leveled unprecedented criticism on former Mossad director Meir Dagan and former internal security chief (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, accusing them of having inflicted the gravest damage against the security of the nation.

 

Minister Begin said on November 2 that the public revelations were "madness,” "utterly irresponsible," and that they "severely impeded the government's ability to make decisions . . . and was an orchestrated journey by civil servants and the media."  Begin accused former Mossad Chief Meir Dagan of "a dangerous breach of trust, verging on megalomania.  It's just despicable.  These kinds of acts are very severe."  Prime Minister Netanyahu was less direct and did not name the two former Israeli officials, but ordered an investigation into the leaks.  To date, Israel had never had an investigation at such a high level of a security breach.

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