Mossad held talks with US on possible Iran strike
Published 14/02/2012 | 05:00
TAMIR Pardo, the head of Mossad, made a secret trip to Washington earlier this month to gauge the likely American reaction to an independent Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.
The highly sensitive content of Mr Pardo's discussion with his American counterparts has been revealed in a 'Newsweek' article.
Unnamed US officials claim that the Israeli security chief's line of questioning to David Petraeus, the CIA chief, ran: "What is our posture on Iran? Are we ready to bomb? Would we [do so later]? What does it mean if [Israel] does it anyway?"
Mr Petraeus told a Senate select committee in a public hearing last month that he had met Mr Pardo to discuss Israel's growing concern over Iran's nuclear aspirations. When asked in the same briefing if Israel intended to strike, James Clapper, the director of US national intelligence, told the committee he would prefer to answer the question behind closed doors.
Israeli officials refused to respond to the article yesterday.
According to Yehuda Ben Meir, a former Israeli deputy minister of foreign affairs and an expert on Israel-US relations, full American backing was by no means a prerequisite for an Israeli strike. "It's a matter of degrees of grey -- will the US apply strong pressure on Israel to hold off on attack or will it say, 'We don't think this is the right time to act but it's your decision'?" he said. "The outcome depends on a very nuanced exchange at the highest possible level". (© Daily Telegraph, London)