Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan may have called Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s warnings about Iran “bullsh**” in a Friday night Channel 2 interview – and blasted him in front of thousands at a leftist rally in Tel Aviv – but he did not always believe that, the National Review Online revealed Monday.
Fred Fleitz, a retired Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) analyst, stated that Dagan’s allegations are “play[ing] politics with national security” and “do not reflect the position of Israeli intelligence” in general.
Dagan apparently only began making a series of inflammatory statements against Netanyahu in 2011, after he opposed an airstrike on Iranian nuclear facility and after a fallout with Netanyahu over his job status.
But in October 2010, he noted, Dagan sang a different tune during a Mossad congressional briefing over the issue.
“At the time, they told us the threat from the Iranian nuclear program was very dire and that Iran had enough enriched uranium to produce several nuclear bombs within a few months,” Fleitz stated in the article. “This was a conclusion many American experts had also reached and one that tracked with my understanding of Iran’s nuclear program as a staff member with the House Intelligence Committee.”
“Dagan led the briefing and was in full agreement with his analysts,” he added. “He said nothing about Iran being several years away from a nuclear bomb or the Iranian mullahs being rational actors.”
Fleitz assured that Dagan’s comments recently against a tough stance on Iran, and against Netanyahu’s assessment of the situation, do not jibe with the predominant approach of major think tanks and intelligence organizations.
“The prime minister’s assessment of the Iranian threat is one shared by many U.S. think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Center for Security Policy, the Heritage Foundation, the Institute for Science and International Security, and the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center,” he said. “Netanyahu’s speech was also consistent with the views of a growing bipartisan majority in Congress.”
Fleitz’s comments align with criticism closer to home directed against Dagan. Earlier this week, Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) noted that the former Mossad chief has a personal vendetta against Netanyahu for being let go from his intelligence position.
“I understand that Meir Dagan changed his views after he did not receive an extension in his post as Mossad chief,” he said in an Army Radio interview. “What he said yesterday is personal and not ideological.”