Mossad chief's term to be extended

Some ministers hoping 2010 is Dagan's last year; Steinitz: It is important to change intel leadership.

meir dagan 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
meir dagan 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday extended Mossad head Meir Dagan's term for anther year, until the end of 2010, for what some ministers suggested should be the last extension. Dagan has been the head of the Mossad since the end of 2002. The prime minister has the prerogative to extend the Mossad chief's term, and did not have to bring the issue up for a vote in the cabinet. Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz praised Dagan's work, suggested that this be the last time his term be extended, and spoke of the importance of changing the intelligence agency's leadership to allow for a fresh perspective. The same sentiment was expressed by Dan Meridor, the minister in charge of intelligence affairs. He said the security establishment should be considering candidates - both from inside the Mossad and outside of it - to replace Dagan. Like Steinitz, Meridor's comments came amid praise for Dagan and the way they both said he has rebuilt the agency over the past seven years. One government source said recent remarks made by Dagan to the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, to the effect that Iran wouldn't have enough enriched uranium to produce a bomb until 2014, a statement at odds with a much shorter timeline generally articulated by Israeli officials, did not come up at the cabinet meeting. Nor, the official said, did his prediction to the same Knesset committee last week that Iran's current protests would run their course within a matter of days.