Former National Security Adviser Uzi Arad is threatening to sue the state unless the attorney general clears him of suspicions that he leaked classified information. Arad also wants an apology from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Arad was dismissed from his post about a year ago over the alleged leaks and has launched a campaign to clear his name. He has hired lawyers Shlomo Cohen and Ahron Abramovich in a legal battle against the Shin Bet security service, the Prime Minister's Office and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein.
"I don't intend to let up until things are made clear," Arad told Haaretz over the weekend. "Netanyahu is instructing his people to lie," he said, adding that legal action by him could reveal serious infractions by the Prime Minister's Office.
In an interview published Friday in daily Yedioth Ahronoth, Arad harshly criticized Netanyahu, his wife Sara and his security secretary, Maj. Gen. Yohanan Locker.
Arad accused Locker of conspiring to get him fired and of falsely alleging that he leaked sensitive military information. Arad accused Netanyahu of telling his staff to lie to State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss out of concerns that Lindenstrauss sought to "destroy" the prime minister.
For its part, the Prime Minister's Office said in a statement that Netanyahu viewed criticism as "an essential tool for improvement" and that his instructions to staff were in "this spirit." Netanyahu has a high regard for Lindenstrauss and his work, the PMO added.
Arad's Yedioth Ahronoth interview and a subsequent talk with Channel 2 appear to be planned to express his displeasure after 15 years of loyal service to Netanyahu.
"I had expected for Netanyahu to take my side, but I found myself alone in battle without the prime minister's support," Arad is said to have stated in a private conversation.
The Prime Minister's Office initially tried to convey the sense that it was unruffled by Arad's accusations. Associates of Netanyahu explained Arad's outbursts as a reaction to events several weeks ago, when Arad asked the prime minister to sign off on a process to bring him back into the fold.
Arad asked for his security clearance back as part of an arrangement to let him do an analysis for the Mossad espionage service. But Netanyahu is said to have hesitated in backing this process, further irking Arad.
Arad's opening shots against Netanyahu, Locker and Sara Netanyahu could develop into a major assault. The Netanyahus know that Arad has knowledge and documentation about many Netanyahu family secrets over the past two decades.
But over the weekend, Netanyahu conveyed conciliatory messages to Arad, followed by Arad's more moderate approach on Channel 2's "Meet the Press."