The most thoroughly disturbing story to appear last week was the information suggesting that the Obama administration is actively undermining Israel in its preparations to strike Iran, and disclosing its plans to the press in order to prevent them from being carried out. This story appeared in YNet News on Thursday, and it offers details about what’s at stake, but more, the treachery of the Obama administration in seeking to undermine our ally Israel in its preparations to make strikes against nuclear facilities in Iran. Apart from the fact that this is a serious leak that should result in firings, the problem is that this may be official US policy behind the scenes. My question is this: If these leaks didn’t have the official sanction of the President, what is he doing to identify the leakers?
The information leaked suggests that Israel has formed some sort of alliance with Iran’s neighbor to the North, Azerbaijan. The basic idea contained in the leaks is that Israel would launch strikes from airbases in that country, flying across the Caspian Sea in low-level sorties designed to fly under radar coverage. The serious problem lies in the fact that all of this information has done serious damage to Israel, and even to the United States, as the article details in this summary of the damage inflicted:
- Iran now has a decent picture of what Israel’s and America’s intelligence communities know about Tehran’s nuclear program and defense establishment, including its aerial defenses.
- The Iranians now know about the indications that would be perceived by Washington and Jerusalem as a “nuclear breakthrough”. Hence, Iran can do a better job of concealment.
- The reports make it more difficult to utilize certain operational options. These options, even if not considered thus far, could have been used by the US in the future, should Iran not thwart them via diplomatic and military means.
As you can well imagine, these leaks have created a serious problem for Israel, and it effectively takes this range of strike options off the table. With the Obama administration undertaking such a program of intentional leaks, it’s hard to imagine relations could grow much cooler between the US and Israel. One of the problems I foresee in this instance is wondering what happens when Israel, that increasingly views Iran as a potential existential threat to its people, comes to see us as taking on the role of effectively aiding that threat.
These are dangerous times, and the United States has a president who seems intent upon making them more volatile. By making such information known to the press, it is likely to act to prevent an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, but the problem is that Iran may be making serious strides in the development of nuclear weapons. So armed, they would pose a serious threat to the existence of Israel, particularly since they have a leader who has promised repeatedly to immolate Israel and her people.
If this administration is serious, what it will do is investigate the leaks and bring the sources to justice because these are classified documents and assessments, and any who have access to such material ought to be limited strictly, thus making it easier to discern who is doing all the leaking. Failing even to attempt to identify the sources of the leaks is as good as an endorsement of them, and what that suggests about this administration is too terrible to contemplate.
The original story broke in Foreign Policy Magazine, and former Ambassador John Bolton was among those who responded with severe criticism of the Obama administration. One unnamed intelligence officer quoted in the article said:
“We’re watching what Iran does closely,” one of the U.S. sources, an intelligence officer engaged in assessing the ramifications of a prospective Israeli attack confirmed. “But we’re now watching what Israel is doing in Azerbaijan. And we’re not happy about it.”