The Jerusalem Post – June 9, 2011
Former Mossad chief Zvi Zamir on Thursday came out in support of former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s controversial statement last month in which he claimed that an Israeli attack against Iranian nuclear facilities would not signficantly derail Iran’s nuclear program. “Dagan is expressing his distress, and he is not breaking any formal rule,” said Zamir.
Dagan had said a military strike on Iran would be a “stupid idea…. (which) would mean regional war, and in that case you would have given Iran the best possible reason to continue the nuclear program.”
Dagan’s statement was criticized by a slew of notable government and military personalities. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that Dagan’s recommendation against attacking Iran was a serious offense, and could likely jeopardize Israel’s deterrence capabilities, Army Radio reported.
According to Barak, several options for action against Iran remain open, and Israel’s discretion on the matter is key in maintaining optimum deterrence.
Also Monday, former Mossad chief Shabtai Shavit also spoke out against Dagan’s statement. “I believe and always have believed that sensitive information must not be used without permission from those who appointed us to our position because it is their information (to disclose),” Shavit said at the Annual Conference of the Maritime Organisation.
Quality government watchdog Ometz took its statements against former Mossad chief Meir Dagan a step further on Sunday, sending a letter to Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein with a request that he launch an investigation to determine whether Dagan’s statements constituted a violation of the Penal Law.
“Since his retirement from the Mossad, Mr. Dagan has often made statements about issues that should be kept silent, including confidential security matters. The reasons for his statements are unknown and troubling, there is risk that there are undue interests at heart,” wrote Ometz attorney Pinchas Fishler.
Zamir however, stands by Dagan. He expressed his empathy with Dagan’s position by making a parallel to his experience as Mossad chief during the Yom Kippur war. “During the war I was in a similar position, and the failures of the war are still on our shoulders,” says Zamir. “The responsibility of the Yom Kippur war rests on our shoulders, and there is a lack of understanding of what needs to be known (to prevent war).”
Dagan had predicted that attacking Iranian nuclear sites with the intention of destroying or at least setting back Iran’s nuclear weapons capabilities would drag the entire Middle East into a widespread war.