Olmert lashes out at Barak over Iran statements

Ehud Olmert's spokesperson says defense minister seriously damages state security after Barak says his critics "serve Iran."

Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Post Conference 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ehud Olmert at the Jerusalem Post Conference 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A spokesman for Ehud Olmert said every Israeli citizen should see "a warning light" regarding the "serious damage" caused to Israel's security by Defense Minister Ehud Barak during his term in office, Army Radio reported Thursday.
Olmert noted the recent sharp criticism of Barak was serious given that it came from the heads of Israel's major security apparatus, who handled Israel's security jointly and individually over a number of years.
Olmert's statements were the latest volley fired in a war of words over the country's defense. In a Thursday interview with Yisrael Hayom, Barak lambasted Olmert, former Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin and former Mossad head Meir Dagan for criticizing his policies, saying they "circle around the world and hurt us - this serves Iran."
Barak accused the three former officials of wrecking what he saw as Israel's progress in convincing the world to impose sanctions on Iran and take the Iranian nuclear threat seriously.
Olmert responded that "without exception," former security officials were against Barak's security policies, and predicted that soon Barak would "disappear from the political map in Israel," according to Army Radio.
The defense minister accused Diskin, in particular, for voicing opinions on security issues beyond his realm of responsibility, saying he crossed the line of what was appropriate for a former senior member of the security establishment to say in public.
Moreover, Barak implied in the interview that the Knesset might need to pass stricter laws to prevent former members of the defense establishment from discussing certain security issues in public.
The firestorm between Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on one side, and Olmert, Diskin and Dagan on the other, was ignited last Friday when Diskin slammed the current government's policies on Iran, saying he had no faith in the leadership of Barak and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.