As you know, for weeks the US-Israel relationship has been roiled by the speech to Congress secretly arranged by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer and US Speaker of the House John Boehner. America’s head of state, President Barack Obama, and his administration were left out of the loop.
But that wasn’t all, it turns out. Netanyahu didn’t tell his own National Security Advisor what he and Dermer were up to either.
According to this report from i24News and independently confirmed by TPM, National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen was himself kept out of the loop as Boehner, Dermer and Netanyahu hatched their speech plan.
What adds another dimension to the story is that the National Security Advisor position is only a few years old. It was an innovation of Netanyahu himself – part of a larger effort to reshape the Israeli national security apparatus and the office of the Prime Minister on the mold of the United States.
Israeli National Security Advisor Yossi Cohen
The position was created in 1999 during Netanyahu’s first government and then upgraded with a more formal statutory footing in 2008. Before Netanyahu appointed him to the position in 2013, Cohen was the deputy chief of the Mossad. Notably – and perhaps tied to Netanyahu’s decision to keep him out of the speech planning process – Cohen is an expert on Iran and briefed Netanyahu on Iran developments while he was still with the Mossad.
Cohen apparently found out about the speech plans just as US administration officials did – hours before Boehner’s announcement.