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Meir Dagan, gadfly

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What brought all of this talking out of Dagan, who presided over numerous successful Mossad operations during his tenure, including the presumed assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabbouh in Dubai in January 2010? This is a man whose life's work has been dedicated to Israel's security.

He says that he's talking precisely so that he can help enhance that security.

Perhaps most irksome were his comments on Iran in May, when he spoke publicly for the first time since leaving office. He declared a strike on Iran's acknowledge nuclear facilities would violate international law, the disbursed nature of Iran's program would make it an extremely difficult mission, and the result would be "war with Iran. It is the kind of thing where we know how it starts, but not how it will end," he said.

He estimated that Iran has the ability to fire rockets at Israel for months in response, and that Hezbollah in Lebanon, an Iranian ally, could chose to launch thousands of its cruder grad missiles at Israel.

He followed all this up earlier this month by saying an Israeli strike "will give the Iranians the best excuse to pursue the nuclear race." The English language version of the Yehdiot Aharonot, one of the country's largest newspapers, termed the comments and response the "Dagan Affair."

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