Meir Dagan
Meir Dagan
Meir Dagan, head of intelligence (Mossad) advised Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to delay the war against Hizbullah last summer until the Home Front could prepare citizens against Katyusha rockets, but the advice was ignored. Dagan later termed the war a "national catastrophe" and demanded a state inquiry, according to new reports.

The exposures coincide with new efforts by the Prime Minister and the Winograd Committee to delay publication of the panel's report on the management of the war on grounds it would damage national interests.

The High Court recently ordered the Committee to publish censored transcripts of its hearings, but the initial release last week already has fueled the fires of criticism against the government, which is suffering from scandals, corruption and disastrous ratings in polls. The release of Dagan's statements, will likely add to national sentiments of government mismanagement during the Second Lebanon War.

The intelligence chief's advice, revealed in a report in a Hebrew newspaper to be published on Monday, was given to Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Amir Peretz the day that Hizbullah kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

Dagan also said he feared that a quick retaliation would quickly escalate into a war and explained, "The risk of damage to home front targets is very high," according to the report to be published in Ha'aretz. "In my opinion, we do not have to strike right away. We can prepare and plan. What's to lose by striking in two days' time?"

Not only did the Prime Minister and Defense Minister not accept Dagan's opinion, they also did not even mention it to the Cabinet, according to the article.

Immediately following the war, Dagan termed the war a "national catastrophe" and urged the firing of Dan Halutz, who was then IDF Chief of Staff, journalists Ofir Shalakh and Yoav Limor wrote in a new book called Prisoners in Lebanon. Halutz resigned two months ago following mounting criticism of his handling of the war.

Dagan and Diskin demanded that Prime Minister Olmert establish a state inquiry, which would have power to subpoena witnesses and take legal action against anyone responsible for failures.

Instead, the Prime Minister set up the government-appointed Winograd Commission following a failed attempt for the probe to be conducted by a panel appointed by Defense Minister Peretz.