Netanyahu cancels security meeting over Iran leaks


Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu abruptly ended a security cabinet meeting Wednesday, complaining of leaks that Israel’s intelligence agencies are not convinced of the great urgency of the Iran threat, Israeli media report.

“A short while after the meeting yesterday something serious happened,” Netanyahu said, Haaretz‘s Barak Ravid reported Wednesday. “A leak from the cabinet discussions… someone severely damaged the trust that Israel’s citizens have in this forum.”

The leak, that appeared in a report on Israel’s Ynet Tuesday, said Israeli intelligence officials who briefing the Israeli security cabinet Tuesday assessed that Iran’s nuclear progress is of deep concern but not of extreme urgency.

“The information presented to the Cabinet was very disturbing, but it wasn’t too daunting,” a senior official who participated in the meeting told Ynet,” Attila Somfalvi reported.

“According to the official who spoke with Ynet, while the information Israel has on Iran’s progress is troubling ‘It’s not scary. The Iranians are relentlessly pursuing nuclear activities and they’re not slowing down …They are holding their own vis-à-vis the international pressure, but on the other hand, they’re not running wild,'” the Ynet report continued.

“According to the story, the members of the security cabinet were shocked to hear that the country’s different intelligence agencies – the Mossad, Shin Bet, and Army Intelligence – do not agree about the Iranian issue,” the Jerusalem Post reported.

“According to the report, the disagreement is over the so-called ‘zone of immunity,’ that period where the Iranians will have progressed on their nuclear program beyond the point where an Israeli attack would be effective.”

Briefing the Israeli security cabinet Tuesday were the director of Military Intelligence Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo and Shin Bet security service chief Yoram Cohen, Ravid reported. Attendees were Netanyahu, Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon, Interior Minister Eli Yishai, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Justice Minister Yaakov Neeman, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Construction and Housing Minister Arial Attias, Minister Bennie Begin, National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, Intelligence Minster Dan Meridor, Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar, and Regional Development Minister Silvan Shalom, the Jerusalem Post said.

Landau on Wednesday demanded polygraph tests of the cabinet to determine who leaked, Ravid reported.

The Prime Minister’s outrage over leaks from the security cabinet “is laughable in light of Netanyahu’s own leaks,” senior Haaretz analyst Amir Oren opined.

(Pool photo of Israeli security cabinet meeting July 2012 by Emil Salman, via Haaretz.)