Instead of supporting Israel in a planned raid against Iran’s nuclear program, the Obama administration utilized the nation’s premier espionage resources to engage the regime in Tehran and keep Jerusalem in the dark, a Wall Street Journal report recounted.
“Nerves frayed at the White House after senior officials learned Israeli aircraft had flown in and out of Iran in what some believed was a dry run for a commando raid on the site,” the report said, explaining that Israel’s activities in 2012 led to a “mutual distrust” that created a divide between the Obama White House and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Israel.
While Israel was readying the military option, the United States was opening up a back-channel to the Ayatollah’s regime in Tehran.
In 2011, the White House dispatched John Kerry, who was then serving as a U.S. Senator, to open up the back-channel through Oman.
Another major revelation in the story was that Israel’s spy service, the Mossad, unilaterally neutralized some of Iran’s nuclear scientists, according to U.S. officials. Some have speculated that the assassination of regime scientists was a coordinated effort between the United States and Israel.
Moreover, Obama so distrusted the Israeli Prime Minister that he refused to update Netanyahu on the ongoing negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Only when Israeli intelligence identified American planes flying back and forth from Oman did President Obama’s officials finally admit that they were engaging Iran, the report adds.
“The lack of early transparency reinforced Israel’s suspicions and had an outsize negative impact on Israeli thinking about the talks,” commented Robert Einhorn, who was a State Department official at the time of the early negotiations.
U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice refused to meet with her Israeli counterpart, Yossi Cohen, to discuss the status of negotiations, adding to Israel’s distrust of the administration, the report states.
The report ends with a quote from Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA, who admitted he’s not sure whether Obama would back Israel or Iran in the case of an Israeli-led strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.
“If we become aware of any Israeli efforts, do we have a duty to warn Iran?” Gen Hayden asked. “Given the intimacy of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, it’s going to be more complicated than ever.”