The surprise interview initiated by President Joe Biden with Mossad chief Yossi Cohen on Friday, April 30, was prompted by Israel’s concerns over the upcoming US nuclear talks with Iran and also covered “other matters,” that were not specified in the White House readout. DEBKAfile’s sources note that this event was unusual in more than one respect: Presidential meetings with foreign spy chiefs do take place, but they are rarely made public. This one was formally announced by the White House.
Its background: During the week, a high-ranking Israeli delegation led by Cohen, national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat and Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Tamir Hayman sat down with their American counterparts. After they offered new intelligence, the argument for and against US diplomacy with Tehran went back and forth with neither side convinced. President Biden apparently decided to step outside his schedule for the task of selling the Issue to Israel. His decision was unconventional in another respect: Yossi Cohen was the first Israeli official to be received at the White House by President Biden – even before Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was invited. This denoted the urgency the president attached to clearing the air between his administration and Israel on the Iranian issue. The Mossad chief, on receiving the call from the White House, checked with the prime minister, who briefed him and told him to go ahead.