JERUSALEM (JWN and agencies)—Defense Minister Ehud Barak made an unprecedented attack Thursday on former prime minister Ehud Olmert, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan, and former Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin, accusing them of making public comments that aided Iran.
Barak referred to the three men as “the Olmert Gang” in an interview with the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom and said they should never have been so indiscrete. Olmert and Dagan made their remarks at a New York conference on Sunday sponsored by The Jerusalem Post, while Diskin spoke at a public gathering in Kfar Sava on Friday.
“It is not hard to see who it serves—Iran and the group that it leads,” Barak said. “They [the former Israeli officials] are running around the world saying things that are weakening the not insignificant Israeli achievements of making Iran an important and pressing matter, not just for Israel but for the whole world.”
“There are things that you can’t discuss out in the open without damaging the subject itself,” he said.
All three former officials have previously stated their opposition to a strike on Iran except as a last resort. Diskin went much further by attacking Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Barak for their alleged failures of leadership, saying he no longer trusts them and claiming they are misleading the public.
Dagan gave an interview to CBS’s 60 Minutes in March in which he suggested that other methods, such as sanctions, should be exhausted in trying to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon before considering a military strike.
Barak scored Diskin, the former director of the Israel Security Agency, for commenting on matters that are “not his specialty or responsibility.”
“The government needs to make the decisions,” Barak said. “The accepted norm of discretion by people who work intimately with the prime minister and defense minister has been broken.”
Barak suggested the three were motivated by political considerations in view of the coming early Knesset elections. “You start to see differences between the way people behave when interested in extending their terms in office and the way they behave afterwards,” he said. He suggested extending the cooling-off period former high-ranking security and defense officials must take before going into politics.