Media Leaks Prompts PM to Cancel Security Meeting

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- A top-level security meeting in a forum responsible for approving an Israeli strike on Iran was cancelled after details of a previous meeting were leaked to the media.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled Wednesday morning's Security Cabinet meeting due to media leaks.

At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu told the 14 cabinet members "a very serious thing happened yesterday."

"A short time after the conclusion of yesterday's meeting, a very serious thing happened: a leak from within the cabinet's discussions," he said.

"The security of the state and its citizens depends on the ability to hold confidential and in-depth discussions in the Security Cabinet," he said. "There all the facts are shown, all opinions and all implications. This is a basic work tool in managing state security."

"Yesterday somebody severely undermined the confidence Israeli citizens give to this forum. He violated the most basic rules regarding the conduct of Security Cabinet discussions," Netanyahu said. "He also hurt the good name of those present at the meeting who did not leak its contents," he added.

"I have no claim against the media. They are doing their job. I do have a claim against whoever violated the most basic trust needed to hold Security Cabinet discussions on matters having to do with Israel's security and undermined the ability to hold confidential discussions. I am responsible to the citizens of Israel and for the security of the state and I adjourn this meeting," he concluded.

Netanyahu convened the Security Cabinet Tuesday evening for classified intelligence briefings by the Mossad (Secret Service), the Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) and Military Intelligence.

The cabinet, which met for seven hours at the Mossad's headquarters in the center of the country, was set to reconvene Wednesday morning.

But when the Israeli daily Yediot Ahronot reported on an "absence of agreement…concerning the point at which an Israeli strike on Iranian nuclear facilities would no longer be effective," the prime minister cancelled Wednesday morning's meeting.

"We heard detailed information that was extremely worrying about the progress of the (Iranian) nuclear program," a Yediot Ahronot reporter wrote. They are "speeding toward a bomb and it doesn't look like anything is stopping them."

The Security Cabinet, which is authorized to approve military strikes, has the option of presenting its decision to the full 29-member cabinet. The smaller, eight-member "kitchen" cabinet, which meets more frequently, functions in a strictly advisory capacity.

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