AP Source: Israel Won't Warn U.S. Before Iran Strike

By: Kimberly Dozier; Associated Press
By: Kimberly Dozier; Associated Press

Washington, D.C. (AP) -- 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 persuade 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 top-level U.S. visitors to the country, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the White House national security adviser and 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 ambitions.

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 strategic negotiations.

The White House did not respond to requests for comment, and 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 US has said it does not know whether the government has decided to weaponize its nuclear material and put it on a missile or other delivery device.

The secret warning is likely to worry US officials and begin the high level meetings with Israel and the US far apart on how to handle Iran.

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 in particular, 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 other's capitals.

"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 them from exporting terrorism, said Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the top Democrat on the House intelligence committee.

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."

"I got the sense that Israel is incredibly serious about a strike on their nuclear weapons program," Rogers told CNN on Monday. "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, sharing with them options such as allowing Israel to use U.S. bases in the region from which 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 both its diplomats and intelligence officials stationed there, the U.S. official said.


AP National Security Writer Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

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  • by voter one Location: tally, fl on Mar 7, 2012 at 05:35 AM
    Tired of high gas prices and blaming the president, than moved to another country like europe and than you will see what gas prices is all about. We live in a country of no major wars but you all need to keep a close eye of iran this could be our next iraq. We need to start thinking about our american troops entering another war and stop concerning ourselves with gas prices.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Mar 5, 2012 at 11:08 AM
    @SNA You don't know what terrorism is. You have some really great comments, in your opinion. Too bad you appeared 3 days after the previous comment. Do you know what "begging the question" is? Is English your native language? Do you read much?
  • by SNA on Mar 5, 2012 at 06:48 AM
    Let's carve out a piece of barren desert land in Arizona somewhere, put up a big fence, and move all of the Israelis there. Hollywood people can make it look like the current Israel. I'm certainly just kidding, but they are surrounded by nations that hate them. Destroying the nuclear plants in Iran may be for their own protection, but it begs the question "Then what?"
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Mar 1, 2012 at 08:31 AM
    The very fact of Israeli saber rattling can raise US gas prices. It's hard to see how that would help Obama's reelection prospects or help the US economic recovery. Israel understands this. So how do you like foreigners manipulating US politics and economics? That's probably another good reason for the US to wean itself from foreign oil: the prospect of being blackmailed by Israel.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Feb 29, 2012 at 09:26 PM
    Israel may attack Iran before the US presidential election in order to influence that election. Israel is more like a loose cannon than an ally. If such an Israeli attack on Iran occurs, those Americans more loyal to Israel than the US will become hysterical and may attempt to exert pressure to make Obama act in ways he would prefer not to. If Israel attacks Iran, would Joe Lieberman support the US or Israel? Would Eric Cantor support the US or Israel?
    • reply
      by Gerry on Mar 1, 2012 at 06:31 AM in reply to Gerry
      Who cares what Lieberman thinks??
      • reply
        by Gerry on Mar 1, 2012 at 08:13 AM in reply to Gerry
        I didn't make the post as 9:31 AM. Although it is funny, somebody who wouldn't dare post under a unique handle because of his insignificance and who can't get any traction, deprecating a US Senator.
    • reply
      by Robert on Mar 1, 2012 at 06:19 PM in reply to Gerry
      Spot on comment. Far too many folks in high positions of governmental power in the USA whose loyalty lies with a foreign country.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Feb 29, 2012 at 07:04 PM
    Israel may attack Iran before the US presidential election in order to influence the US election. In the event of an attack on Iran, Israeli sympathizers will become hysterical and attempt to force the Prez's hand.
  • by Gerry Location: Tallahassee on Feb 29, 2012 at 08:20 AM
    Tell me again why it is ok for Israel to have nuclear weapons, but not ok for Iran to have nuclear weapons. The US respects countries with nuclear weapons, e.g., North Korea and Pakistan. Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons and look what happened to him.
    • reply
      by God Bless America on Feb 29, 2012 at 04:38 PM in reply to Gerry
      You can trust Israel. They have been our allies long before you were born probably.
      • reply
        by Robert on Feb 29, 2012 at 07:22 PM in reply to God Bless America
        In 1967, during the Six Day War Israel deliberately attacked the American ship the USS Liberty. Over 30 Americans were killed. This was a false flag operation, designed make us think that the Egyptians carried out the attack in order to enlist the US military to attack Egypt to benefit Israel. The Israelis have a long record of treachery against America. All the evidence shows that they were aware of the 9/11 plot before it was carried out, knowing that we would attack their regional adversaries after 9/11. Israel is not to be trusted. Many people now seek out alternative media sources. The lid can no longer be kept on this information.
        • reply
          by SNA on Mar 5, 2012 at 06:45 AM in reply to Robert
          Put your tin foil hat back on please.
    • reply
      by SNA on Mar 5, 2012 at 06:44 AM in reply to Gerry
      Who is the only country, EVER, to use nuclear weapons against any enemy nation? Twice! I'm not saying it's wrong, just a perspective to keep in mind.
  • by Anon on Feb 28, 2012 at 11:51 PM
    I cannot believe WCTV is posting all these anti-semitic comments. Wow! A lot of Hitler fans out there. And it's pretty obvious who they support for president- it's not the Mormon.
    • reply
      by Gerry on Feb 29, 2012 at 05:32 AM in reply to Anon
      There are no anti-Semitic comments on this thread. There are some anti-Israeli comments. Not the same thing. Asking what Israel ever did for the US is not the same thing as being anti-Semitic. It sounds to me like you're attempting to suppress discussion.
      • reply
        by Gerry on Feb 29, 2012 at 06:18 AM in reply to Gerry
        I know everything. I'm Gerry..
        • reply
          by Gerry on Feb 29, 2012 at 07:40 AM in reply to Gerry
          I didn't make the post at 9:18 AM. Fake Gerry is just another rightwinger who can't compete. Rightwingers who can't compete are a dime a dozen
      • reply
        by Anonymous on Feb 29, 2012 at 03:58 PM in reply to Gerry
        I can use my own intelligence to read between the lines and I agree with Anon. Gerry, it seems that every time I come home from work after busting my tail all day, I read all these condescending left wing posts that you seem to post on here all day long. This tells me that either a) you have a cush state job and ride the clock all day or b) you don't work at all. My conclusion to you Gerry sir: Get a real job loser.
        • reply
          by Abel on Mar 2, 2012 at 04:28 AM in reply to Anonymous
          which is it gerry?I think your a welfare baby!
        • reply
          by Gerry on Mar 2, 2012 at 06:20 AM in reply to Anonymous
          I am laughing at you. A posting from an anonymous clown concerns me a real lot.
        • reply
          by Gerry on Mar 2, 2012 at 06:23 AM in reply to Anonymous
          @Abel Nobody cares what you think. You embarrass yourself. You should post anonymously so nobody will be able to determine which moronic posts originate with you.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Feb 29, 2012 at 06:03 AM in reply to Anon
      I don't support the US backing if the rogue nation of Israel, but I am not anti-anyone. I am not a fan of hitler nor did I vote for Obama. I am a conservative. Enough with your stereotypes. Why must my tax money be spent on israel? Let them handle their own problems.
  • by Kennedy Democrat Location: Hyannisport on Feb 28, 2012 at 10:15 PM
    Dont worry Israel we got your back.
  • by God Bless America on Feb 28, 2012 at 03:21 PM
    God Bless Israel...the people of the United States are behind you. We don't spek for Obama...PEOPLE TO OBAMA...QUIT!! Ps....Mr. Obama...thanks for the high gas prices, you are one helluva president.
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