The leak is surprising because the US usually only confirms its clandestine operations if it takes responsibility for them. In the case of Mughniyeh, neither the US nor Israel claimed responsibility. And there remains room for denial because the source of the leak was an anonymous US official and not an official government statement. The actual details of the leak are less important, and we shall see that some of them are lacking in accuracy.
The impression given from the leaked details is that someone wanted the US to take the lion’s share of the credit for the Mughniyeh assassination. According to the media reports, in the joint operation that killed Hezbollah’s “defense minister,” the Mossad played second fiddle to the CIA who was the senior more central partner. It’s possible that this is a great exaggeration, the truth was entirely different and in fact the Mossad was the dominant player in the operation.
The impression of the Mossad’s primary role rises from the leaked details themselves. It was reported that it was the Mossad who provided the intelligence on Mughniyeh’s movements in Damascus where he had a secret residence. Also, according to the reports, the idea to assassinate Mughniyeh was the brainchild of the head of the Mossad at the time, Meir Dagan. It was noted that the US military and intelligence officials also raised the possibility of assassinating the Hezbollah figure with whom they had an open account for having the blood of hundreds of Americans on his hands.