Former Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said on Monday that Prime Minister Benjmain Netanyahu should restrain an unnamed intelligence official who has been divulging Israel's attacks on Iran to the media.
In an interview on Army Radio, Lieberman said "everyone knows who that intelligence official is," but did not name the person.
He specifically invoked reports in the New York Times quoting a "Middle Eastern intelligence officer" who said Israel had planted a bomb in the Nantanz Iranian nuclear site, causing a fire that damaged uranium enrichment centrifuges.
"I would expect the prime minister to keep that senior intelligence official’s mouth shut, particularly as he has started his Likud primary election campaign… It just cannot be that that official not only explains what we did, but also what we didn’t do," said Lieberman, referring to a quote by the official that Israel was behind the attack at Nantanz but not the other mysterious episodes. In addition to the fire at Nantanz, there were also explosions at a suspected missile site, two power plants, and a chlorine gas leak at a chemical plant.
"It cannot be that he won’t be put in check," said Lieberman, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to gag the official who is flouting Israel's policy of ambiguity in claiming attacks in Iran, Iraq and Syria.
Lieberman served as defense minister under Netanyahu, but resigned in 2018 following disagreements with the prime minister. Since then, he has been increasingly vocal in his opposition to Netanyahu and his Likud party.
On Sunday, Netanyahu announced that he will be extending the term of Yossi Cohen, the head of Israel's Mossad spy agency.
- Iran says it has built underground missile cities along Gulf coastline
- Israel feels exposed as U.S. allows clearer satellite-imaging
- For now, Iran faces bigger threats than mysterious explosions at nuclear sites
Cohen has been in office since January of 2016 and is considered close to the prime minister. Among the operations that the Mossad carried out under Cohen’s leadership was the theft of Iranian documents in 2018, the assassination of Hamas drone expert Mohammed Zawahri in Tunisia, and of Hamas engineer Fadi al-Batsh.