The Yediot Ahronot daily published excerpts Monday from a series of lengthy interviews Meir Dagan gave before his death last month. In them, Dagan called Netanyahu “the worst manager I know.” He lambasted the premier for prioritizing his personal interests over national ones.
“The worst thing is that he’s got a certain trait that’s kind of like (former Prime Minister) Ehud Barak — the two of them believe that they’re the greatest geniuses in the world and that no one gets what it is that they really want,” Dagan said. “He is the only prime minister — think about that — who reached a state … in which the entire security establishment essentially didn’t accept his position.”
Dagan, a retired general who headed Mossad from 2002-2011, vocally opposed the prospect of an Israeli pre-emptive military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities that Netanyahu is said to have supported. Under Dagan’s leadership, Mossad reportedly carried out covert attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists and unleashed cyberattacks, including the Stuxnet virus, developed in cooperation with the United States. That digital weapon reportedly delayed the Iranian nuclear program. But he thought airstrikes would be counterproductive and is often credited with preventing them from happening.
“The working assumption that it would be possible to fully stop the Iranian nuclear program by means of a military strike is incorrect,” Yediot quoted him as saying. “That military capacity doesn’t exist. The only thing that can be accomplished is suspension— and that would be for a defined period of time.”
He continued: “If Israel attacks, (Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei will thank God: that will unite the Iranian people behind the (nuclear) project and will allow Khamenei to say that the project was for peaceful purposes until now, but because we’ve been attacked by a terrorist state, we have to turn the project into a military project in order to defend ourselves.”
After stepping down from Mossad, Dagan also openly criticized Netanyahu’s opposition to the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. Days before Israel’s elections last March, Dagan headlined a Tel Aviv rally and tearfully implored Israelis to vote out Netanyahu.