Attacking Iran ‘a stupid idea’ says Mossad ex-chief

Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
The former director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency has described the option of a military attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear installations as “the stupidest thing I have ever heard”. Meir Dagan, who led the Mossad from 2002 until January of this year, was speaking publicly for the first time since his retirement, at a conference held at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University. He told conference participants that any military action against Iran would be “patently illegal under international law” and that it would probably not achieve its goals, since Iranian nuclear installations are deliberately dispersed in locations across that vast country. Consequently, the widespread nature of the attack could lead to a prolonged war, “the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end”, said Dagan. His comments found their way to the front pages of most Israeli newspapers over the weekend, and were headlined in television and radio station news programs, prompting responses by several former and acting Israeli officials. Read more of this post

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News you may have missed #406

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Israeli Navy insiders deplore Gaza flotilla raid

Mike Eldar

Mike Eldar

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A day after a former Mossad officer described last week’s Israeli raid on a fleet of Gaza-bound aid ships as “stupid”, former and current Israeli Navy insiders have strongly criticized the bloody operation. Speaking from Israel, Mike Eldar, a 20-year veteran of an elite Israeli Navy special missions unit, said the only explanation for the Israel Defense Forces’ attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was “stupidity [and] super egos”. He was echoing the words of former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky, who last week described the raid as an act that was “so stupid it is stupefying”. The operation, carried by the IDF’s elite Shayetet 13 amphibious unit, resulted in the deaths of nine and the injuries of over 60 flotilla passengers. Elgar added that the botched raid’s result “made no sense”, considering that there must have been Mossad agents on board the ships, and that the IDF “had at least two weeks to prepare, with lots of practice”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0276

  • CIA mum on Panetta’s trip to Israel. Politico’s Laura Rozen reports that the CIA director met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Mossad chief Meir Dagan. But nobody in Washington or Jerusalem will say precisely what was discussed. Why is it that every time Panetta flies to Israel, it has to be a covert visit?
  • CIA raises language requirements for senior staff. “Under the new policy”, said CIA director Leon Panetta, “promotions to SIS [Senior Intelligence Service] for most analysts and operations officers will be contingent on demonstrating foreign language competency. If an officer is promoted to SIS and does not meet the foreign language requirement within one year, he or she will return to their previous, lower grade”.

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News you may have missed #0228

  • Irish nationalists planting honey traps on British troops? The Belfast Telegraph reports that British Army personnel have been “warned about the recruitment by dissidents of attractive females to identify soldiers at popular nightspots and lure them into ambushes” in Northern Ireland. This is highly unnecessary. Usually British troops in the North are easily identifiable by their haircuts, accents, even by their choice of beer!
  • Egyptian spy chief meets Israeli defense minister. Ehud Barak and Omar Suleiman, director of the Egyptian General Intelligence Services, met in Jerusalem on Sunday. The meeting included a “private 30-minute session” between the two men (and the eavesdroppers on either side, presumably –ed.).
  • Terror suspect David Headley was ‘rogue US secret agent’. The London Times has woken up to the rumors circulating about David Headley, a full month after Indian media began reporting them, and nearly three weeks after intelNews alerted its readers. Nice of them to catch up.

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CIA silent on rumors of Panetta’s secret visit to Israel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Several news outlets have pointed to The London Times as the source of the revelation that CIA Director Leon Panetta secretly visited Israel earlier this moth. In reality, the source of the report is not The Times, but Israel National Radio, which aired the news early on Thursday morning. The report was promptly picked up by Agence France Presse (AFP) and issued in French and English later on the same day. According to AFP, US President Barack Obama sent Panetta to Jerusalem in search of high-level assurances from the new Israeli government of President Benjamin Netanyahu, that Israel “would not launch a surprise strike on Iran”. The same report stated that Panetta received assurances from both President Netanyahu and Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, that “Israel does not intend to surprise the US on Iran”. It is important to note that the Israelis’ assurances pertain solely to their obligation to notify Washington prior to launching a strike on Tehran, and in no way rule out such an attack. Therefore they fall significantly short of US requirements. Read more of this post