Meir Dagan, Israel’s former spy chief, lashed back (Hebrew and shorter English version) against cabinet ministers who criticized him for attacking plans by Bibi Netanyahu to bomb Iran. Treasury minister Yuval Steinitz even called for Dagan to be charged with violating the law. There is a general notion in Israeli political and military circles that operational plans are sacrosanct and should not be discussed in order to alert an enemy to Israeli military plans.
But Dagan and the many media commentators who’ve debated the issue vigorously inside the country have felt the gravity and stakes were so high that convention should be cast aside in order to have a full-throated public debate.
Benny Begin and especially Yuval Steinitz, members of the senior ministerial committee which will vote on such an assault called Dagan’s behavior “disgusting” and a betrayal of Dagan’s duty as a former high government official. Begin said that the media debate encouraged by Dagan’s comments “truly sabotaged the decision-making ability of the government.” Translation: Dagan’s efforts have made it more difficult for us to attack Iran, dammit.
Dagan responded robustly saying:
I, a criminal? Let them come and charge me. Let them say: ‘Dagan broke the law.’ I will get myself a good lawyer and then we will talk about what the Treasury minister and his friends said in the matter of operational security. And I have a good memory.
He attacked those who accused him of making Israeli operational plans public by saying:
The one who turned Iran into a central [public] issue was [not me but] the prime minister and defense minister. They were the ones who said they were seriously contemplating the military option. That’s when everyone began talking about it. If they want to charge me–by all means.”
While Dagan is one of Israel’s typically cutthroat spooks, he gives as good as he gets in political combat and it’s great to have someone like this on our side for once. The truth is that the idea of attacking Iran wasn’t first brought up by the anti-war crowd or Dagan, but by Bibi and Barak, just as the Mossad chief said. If they want to charge anyone, let them look in the mirror first.
This article appeared at Tikun Olam