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Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Furious Netanyahu cancels security cabinet meeting over leaks

In earlier posts, I reported on developments relating to Iran that emanated from Tuesday's security cabinet meeting, which was supposed to be top secret. While Prime Minister Netanyahu did not blame the media for publishing those stories ('they're just doing their job'), he is furious at ministers for leaking the stories to the media. Therefore, he canceled a continuation session that was to be held on Wednesday after all the ministers arrived at his office.
Netanyahu, according to a statement issued by his office, said at the outset of the meeting that "something grave happened shortly after the conclusion of the meeting yesterday: leaks from the security cabinet meeting."

Netanyahu convened the security cabinet on Tuesday for an annual meeting on the country's intelligence assessments, a meeting that dealt in depth with the Iranian issue.

Netanyahu said the security of the country rests on the ability of the security cabinet to hold classified and in-depth discussions where all the "facts, opinions and ramifications" are presented.

"This is basic tool for managing the country's security. Someone yesterday harmed in a grave manner the confidence that the citizens put in this body. He broke the basic rules governing discussions in the security-cabinet. He also harmed the good name of all those who were in the meeting and did not leak the information," he said.

Netanyahu's ire was apparently aroused by the lead headline in Wednesday's Yediot Aharonot, which read: "Disagreement about Iran among the intelligence agencies."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.

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.

Netanyahu, adjourning the second part of the meeting, told the ministers that he did not have anything against the media, which was just doing its job. "I have a grievance against the person who broke the most basic trust needed to hold security cabinet meetings, and harmed the ability to hold classified meetings. I have a responsibility to the citizens of Israel and to the country's security, and therefore I am disbanding this meeting."
Of course, the real question is why 19 ministers were invited to such a meeting in the first place.

Read the whole thing.

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