AP source: Israel won´t warn US before Iran strike (AP) Associated Press) By KIMBERLY DOZIER WASHINGTON 02/28/12 6:34 am ET)
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WASHINGTON – Israeli officials say they won´t warn the U.S. if they
decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear
facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with
the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private,
top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the
coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.
Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is
necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the
likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to
stop Israel´s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the
Israelis for months to convince them that an attack would be only a
temporary setback to Iran´s nuclear program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud
Barak delivered the message to a series of high-level U.S. visitors
to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,
the White House national security adviser, the director of national
intelligence and top U.S. lawmakers, all trying to close the trust
gap between Israel and the U.S. over how to deal with Iran´s nuclear
Netanyahu delivered the same message to all the Americans who have
traveled to Israel for talks, the U.S. official said.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive
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The White House did not respond to requests for comment. The Pentagon
and Office of Director of National Intelligence declined to comment,
as did the Israeli Embassy.
Iran claims its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, but the
International Atomic Energy Agency has raised alarms that its uranium
enrichment program might be a precursor to building nuclear weapons.
The U.S. has said it does not know whether the government has decided
to weaponize its nuclear material and put it on a missile or other
The secret warning is likely to worry U.S. officials and begin the
high-level meetings with Israel and the U.S. far apart on how to
But the apparent decision to keep the U.S. in the dark also stems
from Israel´s frustration with the White House. After a visit by
National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, they became convinced the
Americans would neither take military action, nor go along with
unilateral action by Israel against Iran. The Israelis concluded they
would have to conduct a strike unilaterally — a point they are likely
to hammer home in a series of meetings over the next two weeks in
Washington, the official said.
Barak will meet with top administration and congressional officials
during his visit. Netanyahu arrives in Washington for meetings with
President Barack Obama next week.
The behind-the-scenes warning belies the publicly united front the
two sides have attempted to craft with the shuttle diplomacy to each
"It´s unprecedented outreach to Israel to make sure we are working
together to develop the plan to deter Iran from developing a nuclear
weapon," and to keep Iran from exporting terrorism, said Maryland
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House intelligence
He traveled there with the intelligence committee chairman, Rep. Mike
Rogers, R-Mich., to meet Israel´s prime minister and defense
minister, along with other officials.
"We talked about the fact that sanctions are working and they are
going to get a lot more aggressive," Ruppersberger added.
They also discussed talked about presenting a unified front to Iran,
to counter the media reports that the two countries are at odds over
how and when to attack Iran.
"We have to learn from North Korea. All those (peace) talks and
stalling and they developed a nuclear weapon," he said. "We are going
to send a message, enough is enough, the stalling is over. ... All
options are on the table."
Rogers told CNN on Monday: "I got the sense that Israel is incredibly
serious about a strike on their nuclear weapons program. It´s their
calculus that the administration ... is not serious about a real
military consequence to Iran moving forward.
"They believe they´re going to have to make a decision on their own,
given the current posture of the United States," he added.
U.S. intelligence and special operations officials have tried to keep
a dialogue going with Israel despite the high-level impasse, offering
options such as allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in the region to
launch such a strike, as a way to make sure the Israelis give the
Americans a heads-up, according to the U.S. official and a former
U.S. official with knowledge of the communications.
Cooperation has improved on sharing of intelligence in the region,
according to one current and one former U.S. official. Israel is
providing key information on Syria, for instance, now that the U.S.
has closed its embassy and pulled out its diplomats and intelligence
officials stationed there, the U.S. official said. ___ AP National
Security Writer Anne Gearan contributed to this report. (© 2012 The
Associated Press 02/28/12)
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