Mossad chief held secret talks in DC with top U.S. officials

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FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director David Petraeus appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Jan. 31, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence met yesterday for the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment. And it was broadcast live. Haaretz reports “cursory comments” made by Senator Dianne Feinstein and General David Petraeus indicate they recently met with Mossad chief Tamir Pardo in Washington.

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo Photo: Moti Milrod

Haaretz has an enticing headline: Mossad chief holds secret U.S. meetings on Iran nuclear threat, Senate panel reveals.

The clandestine Washington visit was exposed during a hearing of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which was participated by CIA Director David Petraeus, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Dianne Feinstein, who chairs the Senate panel.

During the meeting, Feinstein asked Clapper whether or not Israel intended to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities, with the top U.S. intelligence official answering that he would rather discuss the issue behind closed doors.

Feinstein then indicated that she had met Mossad chief Pardo earlier in the week in Washington, with Petraeus adding that he too met Pardo and cited what he called Israel’s growing concern over Iran’s nuclear ambitions.


ABC: The following are excerpts from National Director of Intelligence James Clapper’s prepared remarks as provided to ABC News.

On Iran: We Don’t Know If They’ll Go for The Bomb, ‘Concerned’ About Attack on U.S.

“We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons. Iran nevertheless is expanding its uranium enrichment capabilities, which can be used for either civil or weapons purposes.”

“Iran’s technical advancement, particularly in uranium enrichment, strengthens our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons, making the central issue its political will to do so. These advancements contribute to our judgment that Iran is technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon, if it so chooses. We judge Iran would likely choose missile delivery as its preferred method of delivering a nuclear weapon… Elite infighting has reached new levels, as the rift grows between Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad.”

There’s more nothing where that comes from.

Shorter Clapper: We don’t know what Iran will do but eventually they will have the capacity to produce nuclear weapons if they want to. So the issue is do they have the political will to make a nuclear weapon? Let’s just skip over the part about whether Iran would have the will to actually use a nuclear weapon and posit if they did use one, they’d probably decide to deliver it with a missile. If we attack them, they’ll attack us back. They have probably plotted an attack already.

That strikes me as a lot of if’s for a preemptive strike doesn’t it? Plus, there’s some stuff in there about the alleged assassination plot on the Saudi ambassador (recall the hokey story about the Mexican under cover agent working for the Iranians, which Jeffrey Goldberg claims to take seriously) indicating the Iranians are “now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States”. Uh huh.

I’m reminded of b reviewing Isabel Kershner’s reporting, “NYT Introduces New False Propaganda Line,” at Moon of Alabama:

“Working to develop a weapons program”? What is that supposed to mean?

Since the NYT ombudsman has admonished the paper for being too casual with references to the non existing Iranian nuclear weapon program, Kersher can no longer refer to it directly.

Instead she now comes up with “is working to develop a weapons program.” This phrase has, to my best knowledge, never been used in any official language and I have never seen this accusation before. What is the factual base for Kershner’s assertion?

Well, it’s not the Worldwide Threat Assessment.

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