Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu ordered security forces to prepare operative plans for a strike on Iran’s nuclear program in 2011, the head of the Mossad spy agency has revealed in a television interview to be broadcast Thursday night.
Tamir Pardo told Ilana Dayan, the anchor of Channel 12’s Uvda investigative journalism program, that Netanyahu had instructed him, together with then-IDF Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Benny Gantz to prepare plans to be able to launch a strike on Iran within 15 days of the order being given.
Asked by Dayan whether he believed that Netanyahu would go through with an attack, Pardo said: “When he (Netanyahu) tells you to prepare for countdown, you realize that he is not playing games.”
Pardo said the order could only have had two purposes: “One is that he meant it and the other is that he was sending a message. It could have been that the United States knew about it one way or the other and that could have moved (the Obama administration) to do something.”
Pardo, who received the order shortly after taking office, also revealed to Dayan that he sought advice, including from the Attorney General, on the legal ramifications were the prime minister to order him to take action that Pardo felt could have led to war.
“I sought clarifications, I checked with previous heads of the Mossad … I checked with legal advisers. I checked with everyone I could consult with to see who is authorized to give orders pertaining to launching a war,” Pardo says in the interview.
“At the end of the day, when I receive an order from the prime minister I have to execute it and I have to be sure that nothing irregular is happening. Even if the operation failed [I had to make sure] that I had not carried out an illegal order,” he added.
Pardo told Dayan that Netanyahu eventually found out that he had consulted with legal advisers and revealed that at one point he had even considered resigning.