Israel ‘not to warn US’ on Iran attack, says US intelligence official

White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon

The Israeli government has reportedly decided not to forewarn the United States if and when it decides to launch military strikes against Iran’s nuclear energy program. Citing a US intelligence insider, the Associated Press reported on Monday that American officials have been given the message “in a series of private, top-level” meetings with senior Israeli leaders. Tel-Aviv’s decision not to notify Washington about a possible attack on Tehran has been allegedly communicated to US officials by none other than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak. The US intelligence official, who tipped off the Associated Press anonymously, said that the two men have been relaying the same message to a host of American officials who have visited Israel in the past several weeks. The officials include the US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, as well as several senior American lawmakers. The intelligence source told The Associated Press that Tel Aviv’s decision to keep its cards on Iran close to its chest was solidified following a series of meetings last week between the Israeli leadership and White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (pictured). The American official relayed to Netanyahu, Barak and others, the opinion of the White House that a military attack on Iran would be both dangerous and counterproductive. This appears to have further alarmed the Israeli leadership, which last week chastised the United States for voicing criticism of a possible Israeli military attack on Iran, arguing that this criticism effectively “served Iran’s interests”. The Associated Press report states that Tel-Aviv’s decision to keep Washington out of the loop on a possible attack on Tehran is partly based on Israel’s alleged effort to shield the US from accusations that it might have authorized the attack. The news agency contacted the White House, the US Pentagon, and the Israeli Embassy in Washington, all of which refused to comment on the story. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is preparing to travel to Washington next week, has issued a gag order to his government ministers preventing them from publicly discussing the issue of Iran.

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