Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said on Tuesday that former prime minister Ehud Barak will not be investigated for revealing to his biographers classified information about alleged Israeli plans to attack Iran while he was defense minister.
The Justice Ministry said in a statement that the Channel 2 program in August which aired recordings of the interviews went through the standard military censorship evaluation prior to broadcast. The statement said that the recordings were not found to have had the potential to harm Israel’s security, as they did not include specific operational details.
In the recordings, Barak details aborted plans to strike at Iran in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Barak, who was defense minister at the time, says that he, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-foreign minister Avigdor Liberman wanted to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, but were thwarted by opposition from other senior officials.
The tapes, whose broadcast Barak fought unsuccessfully to block, include his claims that he and Netanyahu wanted to attack Iran in 2010, but that then-chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi indicated that there was no viable plan for such an operation; that they were thwarted in 2011 by the opposition of fellow ministers Moshe Ya’alon and Yuval Steinitz; and that a planned 2012 strike was aborted because it happened to coincide with a joint Israel-US military exercise and Israel did not want to drag the US into the fray.
The airstrikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities were ostensibly planned to take place because Netanyahu and Barak feared that Iran was on the cusp of reaching a “zone of immunity,” in which its facilities were so well-protected or developed as to render an attack either a short-term solution or entirely futile.
In the wake of the broadcast, reports emerged of widespread “anger” at Barak among the Israeli leadership, and that numerous senior political and security officials were also privately intimating that Barak’s version of events was not entirely accurate. The Prime Minister’s Office did not issue an official response to the broadcast.