(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has to decided not to open a criminal investigation into former prime minister and defense minister Ehud Barak for tapes aired during the summer in which Barak can be heard speaking to the authors of his biography Ilan Kfir and Danny Dor about a cabinet decision in which plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities were canceled.
On the tape, revealed on Channel 2, Barak says a plan to attack Iranian nuclear facilities when he was defense minister was sabotaged by the hesitancy of fellow cabinet members Yuval Steinitz and Moshe Ya’alon – the man who would replace him at the Defense Ministry compound in Tel Aviv.
Barak said the attack plans against Iran were drawn up and approved by himself and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sometime between 2009 and 2010.
According to Barak, when the plan went before the so-called “Forum of Eight” ministers, it was then-strategic affairs minister Ya’alon and then-finance minister Steinitz – two of the most vocal anti-Iran hawks in the current administration – who “melted.”
The Barak tapes were made available to Channel 2 following the completion of a forthcoming Hebrew-language biography about the former defense minister titled Milhamot Hayay (“My Life’s Wars”), written by Kfir and Dor.
The Attorney-General said there was no justification for opening a criminal investigation against Barak primarily because the Channel 2 news item was submitted to the IDF censor, which approved it for release.
Weinstein also said an investigation was not warranted in light of the censor’s position that nothing revealed in the Channel 2 report could cause real harm to Israel’s security, since the information revealed did not detail executive actions but rather the positions of the decision makers.
Despite the decision not to open a criminal investigation, the A-G found fault in a former minister passing information from cabinet discussions to ghost writers and journalists without receiving permission to do so.
Weinstein ordered that a team, headed by his deputy Dina Zilber, be established to formulate guidelines to address what senior Israeli defense officials can say to ghost writers and journalists.