Ex-CIA Director cautions Israel against attacking Iran

Michael HaydenBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The former Director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency has warned that an Israeli attack on Iran would likely backlash and might actually push Tehran to build nuclear weapons earlier than currently projected. General Michael Hayden, the only person to lead both the CIA and the US National Security Agency, told Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz on Monday that Iran is not yet close to building a nuclear weapon and that Israel should carefully consider how to respond to its neighbor’s alleged nuclear weapons ambitions. During his CIA tenure, General Hayden supervised the 2007 US National Intelligence Estimate, produced cooperatively by all 16 agencies of the US intelligence community, which concluded that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons activities. In his interview on Monday, Hayden said that, in his view, the conclusion of the 2007 NIE “still holds”, as Tehran has not yet made the decision to weaponize its missile and fissile material. Hayden, who was recently appointed as national security adviser to Republican Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, said that, by rushing to attack Iran now, Israeli military leaders would “actually push [Tehran] to do that which [an attack] is supposed to prevent: getting nuclear weapons”. The retired General added that any military attack on Iran would “pose a difficult challenge” in terms of its strategic outcome, since “there is no absolute certainty that all targets are known” inside Iran. Furthermore, he said, even if Israel decided to attack Iran militarily, it would have to go beyond mere air raids, and would soon discover that its resources were limited. Thus, argued Hayden, if an outright military operation against Iran “were eventually deemed necessary”, the decision should be taken collectively by both Washington and Tel Aviv —not least because “the US would be much more capable of undertaking it than Israel”. In a related development, US Representative Mike Rogers, who chairs the US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said on Tuesday that he did not believe Israel would attack Iran before the US Presidential elections in November. Rogers, who visited Israel in an official capacity last week, said that he was left with “no doubt in my mind” that the US election cycle was part of Israel’s calculations.

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4 Responses to Ex-CIA Director cautions Israel against attacking Iran

  1. Rich says:

    There are more than a few analysts (of various types) who would disagree with the opinions of the former General ……… this person is more commonly referred to as the “leak” a minute on any subject related to national security …… i.e., the “knowledgeable source’ concerning the disclosure of the authorship of “Flame” – “Stuxnet” – the now infamous NIE of 2007 which can easily be viewed as a nothing bu a political document to undermine the Bush presidency which apparently Hayden disagreed with and was determined to influence the outcome and direction of foreign policy ……. this is a man who rose thru the ranks in service to himself rather than to country

  2. Yishai says:

    Well put Rich.

  3. B.Grabelle says:

    I believe that to attack their nuclear facilities would be in err. My preference would be to isolate certain individuals who have threatened verbally the State of Israel and the Jewish people.

  4. intelNews says:

    @Rich: Certainly Hayden has several critics, not least because of the NSA’s massive Trailblazer imbroglio. However, the issue here is one of strategy, and I don’t think Hayden is proposing anything drastic. He’s simply saying: wait and think before you act.

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