The alleged request took place in 2011, shortly after both officials had assumed their new positions. Netanyahu has strongly denied these allegations.
Netanyahu, Pardo Photo credit: Amos Ben Gershom, GPO/Meir Vaaknin, Flash 90
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked the Shin Bet chief to tap the phones of the heads of Mossad and the IDF in 2011 over his concern that they might leak sensitive information, according to the Israeli investigative reporting show Uvda.
The report said Netanyahu had asked then-Shin Bet Director Yossi Cohen to make use of the agency’s “special capabilities” in order to eavesdrop on Benny Gantz and Tamir Pardo, who had both recently taken over as the new IDF Chief of Staff and Mossad Director, respectively.
Cohen reportedly declined to tap the officials’ phones and was utterly shocked by Netanyahu’s request, which had not been based on any substantiated suspicions.
Pardo was interviewed on the show and said he doesn’t “want to believe” the allegations, adding, “If (Netanyahu) doesn’t trust us, he can have us fired in 10 minutes.”
The PM’s Office quickly responded to the allegations, calling it “completely far-fetched” and “a complete distortion of … efforts made from time to time in order to protect information on sensitive issues related to Israel’s security.” It provided no further details on the nature of these efforts. Just hours later, the mention of them was removed from the official statement.
Netanyahu himself tweeted on Friday morning, “I never asked to eavesdrop on the IDF Chief of Staff and the Mossad Director. This is a complete lie. The liars know no limits!”