Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman 311 (R).
(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Foreign Ministry Avigdor Lieberman on Sunday threatened a libel suit against two
media outlets, The Associated Press and the website of IsraelDefense military
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The media outlets alleged that Lieberman was not given access
to secret military material, including information regarding Iran, when he
served as the minister for strategic affairs from 2006-2008.
Both AP and
declined to comment on the threat or their articles.
press time they had not responded to Lieberman’s request for an
Former prime minister Ehud Olmert, under whom Lieberman served
as strategic minister, came to the current foreign minister’s defense on
Olmert wrote a letter to the Foreign Ministry denying the AP
Olmert wrote that during Lieberman’s service he instructed all
branches of the intelligence services to work with him, meet with him and to
provide him with whatever information he needed to perform his duties, including
material of a highly sensitive nature.
Olmert added that Lieberman had
performed his job in the best and most responsible manner.
restrictions were issued on the kind of intelligence information that could be
provided to Lieberman, nor did any one suggest that material be held back from
him, Olmert said.
He was a full partner in all the discussions that dealt
with strategic matters, he said.
Over the weekend, AP quoted a senior
official, who claimed that sensitive intelligence information was withheld from
Lieberman. In its article AP noted that it was rare to limit intelligence access
from a minister in that position. Lieberman immigrated to Israel from a former
Soviet bloc country, it noted, and speculated that this might have created a
problem. The article also said that it did not know if Lieberman’s security
clearance had been upgraded when he became foreign minister.
was circulated through AP to US and Israeli media outlets.
The website of
noted more simply that Lieberman lacked the same clearance given
to that of the current Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe “Bogie”
On Sunday, AP wrote a story in which Olmert’s spokesman as well
as Lieberman’s denied the charges.