Lieberman Threatens to Sue for Libel Over Reports Questioning His Security Clearance

Foreign Minister demands apology from The Associated Press and Israel Defense magazine following reports he was denied sensitive information due to his status as immigrant,

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman demanded on Sunday that The Associated Press and the Israel Defense magazine issue an apology for reporting he was denied access to sensitive information as Strategic Affairs Minister in the previous government.

Lieberman's lawyer Yaron Kostlitz sent letters Sunday to the Associated Press, the agency's reporter Diaa Hadid and to Israel Defense editor Amir Rapaport, threatening to file suit unless an apology was issued.

Lieberman - Reuters - 18072011

In its report on Saturday, The Associated Press cited an unnamed official saying that Lieberman had not been given full access to secret information during his term Strategic Affairs Minister from October 2006 to January 2008.

Both reports raised the possibility that Lieberman was denied access because he is an immigrant from the former Soviet Union and as such had a lower security clearance.

"Minister Lieberman had the same access (current Strategic Affairs) Minister Moshe Ya'alon, and he was not denied access to any information," attorney Kostlitz wrote in the letter. "What was written constitutes libel aimed at damaging Minister Lieberman."

Officials at Lieberman's office pointed to the fact that former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert under which Lieberman worked also denied the reports.

קראו כתבה זו בעברית: ליברמן מאיים בתביעת דיבה בשל פרסומים על סיווגו