Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak in 2010 requested that the military position itself to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, according to an Israeli TV report. But the order was dropped over questions of officials' authority to call for such an action—and the military's ability to even carry out said order, reports Reuters. The report says that during a meeting with select officials, Netanyahu told then-head of the Israeli Defense Forces Gabi Ashkenazi to "set the systems for P-plus," a move to prepare for action, the New York Times reports. But Ashkenazi and then-intelligence boss Meir Duggan have called Netanyahu's order an attempt to "steal a decision to go to war," reports the AP: They say the prime minister doesn't have the authority to make the command without the full Cabinet's backing.
"This is not something you do unless you are certain you want to execute at the end. This accordion will make music if you keep playing it," Ashkenazi says. In the TV report, which airs tonight, Barak disagrees, saying that putting systems on alert doesn't mean "the state of Israel is compelled to act." And "eventually, at the moment of truth, the answer that was given was that, in fact, the ability did not exist," Barak says. The incident in question appears to have occurred around a time when the US and Israel were deeply involved in a mission to delay Iran's nuclear progress and offer a nonmilitary resolution to Israeli-Iranian tensions, the Times notes. (Read more Iran stories.)