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Probe the Leakers, Not Netanyahu

The prime minister ought to be the good guy in the 'wiretapping affair.' Not Netanyahu, but rather those who divulged state secrets, should be held to public account

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on June 5, 2018.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking during a joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Elysee Palace on June 5, 2018.Credit: Philippe Wojazer/AP

In light of the momentous disclosures of some of Israel’s deepest national secrets, including by former Mossad chief Tamir Pardo on “Uvda,” Benjamin Netanyahu - who sought to put an end to this recklessness - turned out to be the good guy in the “wiretapping affair.”

Not the prime minister, but rather those who divulged state secrets - motivated in part by a desire to smear their superiors - should be held to public account or even face criminal charges. It is not love of Pardo that is driving support for the former Mossad chief, but rather hatred of Netanyahu.

In 2011 and 2012, Israeli media outlets revealed that Israel was preparing to strike Iran’s nuclear installations and that $12 billion had been spent on the preparations. They disclosed the members of the security cabinet who supported the proposed attack and the heroes who dared to stand up to the prime minister and the defense minister. In the name of foreign security agencies’ right to know, reporters who were close to senior defense officials revealed that among those opposing the attack were the chief of staff, the head of the Shin Bet security service and the head of the Mossad. Trivial details.

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We later learned, from Meir Dagan himself, that when he was the director of the Mossad he traveled to Washington - while deceiving the prime minister about the trip’s purpose - to enlist the head of the CIA XXXX against Dagan’s boss. After all this, a herd of brainwashers - some of whom were themselves brainwashed - have in recent weeks been writing and saying on-air that the wiretapping affair is yet another stage in Netanyahu’s campaign to damage Israeli democracy.

Barack Obama remains to this day the darling of progressive circles in Israel. As president of the United States, he appointed a well-respected man (and a personal friend, according to some) to head the CIA. This man, David Petraeus, gave classified information - not state secrets, heaven forbid - to his biographer (and lover). The president-friend fired him immediately. Petraeus was charged with providing classified information to an unauthorized individual. The investigation was handled by the FBI. Its Israeli counterpart, the Shin Bet, investigated the head of the Mossad.

Petraeus, a lauded and decorated all-American hero, did not get one-thousandth of the support that has been showered onto senior Israeli officials who divulged state secrets to journalists, public officials, politicians, and as Dagan has admitted, also to foreign officials. Media figures willingly stepped in to help those who were conspiring against their superiors - a truly democratic act. From now on we should call the affair disclosed on Israel Channel 12’s investigative magazine program not the affair of the wiretapping - electronic surveillance that was authorized lawfully by Netanyahu - but rather the affair of the disclosure of state secrets, carried out by those who were responsible for protecting those secrets.

In face of the accusations hurled at him over the wiretapping, Netanyahu, as is his wont, suffices with defensive responses. Instead of defending himself he should initiate - certainly in this matter — the establishment of a national commission of inquiry. It must be directed to investigate the individuals in Israel’s security agencies and beyond who engaged in the dissemination of state secrets. The commission, which should be empowered to question everyone who was privy to those secrets during this (not-at-all distant past), will easily determine the leakers, the conspirators and the underminers; which unauthorized individuals were given classified material; where this led and what damage they managed to wreak. When the shameful acts of those who harmed state security are put on display, the earth will shake and the hatred for Netanyahu is likely to end. That is the right thing to do now. Moreover, some of those senior officials are planning to enter politics: The public has the right to know whether or not they played a part in this travesty.