Ex-Mossad No. 2 criticizes former spymaster for revealing interview: ‘Arrogance’

‘We’ve committed the sin of arrogance in recent years,’ Ram Ben-Barak says after Yossi Cohen, who stepped down last week, gave highly specific details on agency’s ops against Iran

(L) Ram Ben Barak (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) and (R) Yossi Cohen (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
(L) Ram Ben Barak (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90) and (R) Yossi Cohen (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

A former deputy Mossad chief expressed criticism of the spy agency’s former leader, Yossi Cohen, for giving a television interview revealing highly specific details about Mossad efforts against Iran.

“Yossi Cohen is a good Mossad leader, but I probably wouldn’t do an interview like that,” Ram Ben-Barak told Army Radio on Sunday.

“We have committed the sin of arrogance in recent years and I want to note what happened when we were arrogant after [the victory of] the Six Day War,” he added, alluding to the devastating Yom Kippur War, which followed six years later, in 1973.

Ben-Barak, now a lawmaker in the Yesh Atid party, served in Mossad for 27 years and was the intelligence service’s deputy director between 2009 and 2011.

This photo released July 2, 2020, by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, shows a building after it was damaged by a fire, at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility some 200 miles (322 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran, Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP)

His comments marked the first public criticism by a former top Mossad official over the interview with Cohen aired Thursday night, in which the ex-spymaster intimated that his agency blew up Iran’s underground centrifuge facility at Natanz, gave a precise description of the 2018 operation in which Mossad stole Iran’s nuclear archive from safes in a Tehran warehouse, confirmed that Iran’s assassinated top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh had been in Mossad’s sights for years, and said the regime needs to understand that Israel means what it says when it vows to prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons.

The interview, which appeared to be the most revelatory ever given by a Mossad chief so closely following the end of his active service, was broadcast after Cohen ended his term as the spy agency’s leader on June 1 and was succeeded by David Barnea.

Iran on Saturday blasted Cohen over the interview, with a spokesman for the Islamic Republic’s mission to the UN accusing him of “lawlessness.”

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