Shin Bet Withheld Iran Secrets from Lieberman as Security Risk

Nov 10, 2011 | Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place

Israel Defense, the publication which covers the Israeli defense industry, reports that when Avigdor Lieberman was Minister for Strategic Affairs, in an earlier iteration of the Netnayahu government, the Shin Bet refused to allow him access to some of its secret information relating to Iran.  In contrast, the current minister filling that portfolio, Moshe Yaalon, has full access to all information.

If true, this report raises all sorts of questions and red flags.  One has to wonder why he would be deprived of such information.  The mind immediately turns to Lieberman’s close ties to Russia, where he is on especially good terms with the leadership and makes frequent visits to Moscow.  Of course, Russia is one of Iran’s leading trading partners, is building the Bushehr nuclear plant, and provides Iran some of the most advanced anti-aircraft missile technology.  Russia would be very interested to know what Israel knows about its affairs in Iran.  In fact, much of the information provided on this subject that made it into the IAEA report seems to have derived from Israeli intelligence.  This may be one reason why the Shin Bet would worry about allowing Lieberman access.

avigdor lieberman flyer

Broadside flyer displayed in Jerusalem last month accusing Avigdor Lieberman of being head of Russian spy ring

Also, I wonder why it was the Shin Bet which refused to grant Lieberman access to the secret documents.  Wouldn’t the Mossad be the one to determine whether a minister should see documents pertaining to Iran?  The information in the following paragraph may shed light on this question.

An anonymous flyer (in Hebrew, a pashkevil or “broadside”) was posted in Jerusalem last month, which accused Lieberman of being the head of a Russian spy ring inside Israel:

The State of Israel is powerless in the face of Russian spy services, directed by the chair of Yisrael Beitenu, Avigdor Lieberman and his partners in the Party.  Some of the Israeli media has offered less than candid or even misleading information on this subject.

We demand the foreign minister be investigated according to the evidence and gravity of his deeds.  We announce to the weak ones who stand at the head of this nation, that the people dwelling in Zion will not allow those entrusted with its secrets to leak them to a state [Russia] which enjoys close intelligence relations with Syria, Iran and Hezbollah.

When I first received the flyer I didn’t know what to make of it: was it authentic?  Did the writer know what he was talking about or was it a smear without foundation?  Who would have the motive to do this?  And why would they put up a flyer rather than leak it to the Israeli media?

If Lieberman is suspected of being a Russian intelligence asset then it would be the Shin Bet which would make such a determination rather than the Mossad.  This may explain why the Israel Defense report notes it was the former agency which refused him access.

The Israel Defense story is the first indication that Lieberman really is considered a security risk by Israel’s intelligence services.  Which means that whoever wrote the flyer knew this.  Either the author had connections with intelligence or somehow became aware of the issue through second-hand sources.  I still can’t figure out why someone posts a flyer on the street with such information rather than leak it to the media–unless they’d tried and failed to interest a reporter in the story.

At any rate, we now know that not only is the former Moldovan nightclub bouncer and convicted child-beater corrupt, but he’s also accused of being a Russian mole.

Source and more at Tikun Olam-תיקון עולם: Make the World a Better Place.

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