Panetta denies he thinks Israel will attack Iran soon
February 14th, 2012
05:32 PM ET

Panetta denies he thinks Israel will attack Iran soon

By Adam Levine

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Tuesday that he has no position on whether Israel will strike Iran by this spring, a denial of recent reporting by the Washington Post and by CNN that he believed that to be the case.

Panetta said he talked with Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who reported earlier this month that: "Panetta believes there's a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May, or June, before Iran enters what Israelis describe as a zone of immunity to commence building a nuclear bomb."

In inquiring about the report, CNN's Barbara Starr was told by a senior administration official that Panetta had come to the conclusion there is a growing likelihood Israel could attack Iran sometime this spring. The official told CNN that Panetta was basing his conclusion on a "confluence" of intelligence.

Immediately after the column was published, Secretary Panetta told the press he was not disputing the story but, "I'm just not commenting."

Panetta was asked about the Washington Post story during his appearance Tuesday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

"I usually don't comment on columnists' ideas about what I'm thinking. Usually, it's a dangerous game to get into," Panetta said. "I think as the president has suggested, I think we do not think Israel has made that decision."

But when asked by Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican, if he had been misquoted, Panetta noted that the columnist was characterizing his thoughts and not quoting him directly, but he did not say directly if he had talked about Israel and Iran.

"We talked, but we talked about a lot of things, frankly," Panetta said.

"You do not have a position as to whether it is likely that Israel will make such an attack this spring?," Wicker asked.

"I do not," responded Panetta.

Asked by Wicker if he was trying to send "some sort of signal to the international community, either to Iran or Israel," Panetta simply replied, "No."

The defense secretary emphasized the need to work together to pressure Iran.

"The international community has taken strong steps on sanctions, on economic and diplomatic areas, to bring pressure on Iran and to isolate them. And I guess my preference, my view is that we ought to keep the international community together in applying that kind of pressure," Panetta said.

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Filed under: Congress • Iran • Israel • Military • Panetta
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. Spelunker4Plato

    HEY IT'S COOL, EVERYBODY!!! Totalitarian zionists need lebensraum too! They don't HAVE to share with the Palestinians! They've got zionism, and that's just like a thousand year reich or manifest destiny, even!

    February 15, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  2. mipolitic

    so panetta says nothing, however iran is saying a lot , both with terrorist attacks and the speach today about its enrichment advancements. the sanctions never worked with north korea , and the sanctions is not working in iran either. iran is moving quickly to aquire nukes and than all hell will brake out. pray

    February 15, 2012 at 9:37 am | Reply
    • GoodOrevilwhoDecsides

      Iran will get an atomic bomb for sure but this will not help them with their internal disaster waiting to happen. Them iranians aint dumb i mean look at what they did to the shah. I bet their government is more scared of another revolution that its trying to point a finger at israel and the us to blind its people to the turmoil in its own ranks. But this is just speculation.
      Israel is still the best country in the middle-eastern region and they will still be after all this waring is over.

      February 15, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  3. michaelfury

    "Panetta believes there's a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May, or June"

    March is the preferred ceremonial month for wars of aggression (mass sacrifice). When did "Shock & Awe" begin in Iraq? And the bombardment of Libva? You guessed it.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
  4. GG

    I cannot help to admire Israel and its people. They do everything to guarantee the security of their nation. Many nations can learn much from them. No Arab nation should be allowed to have nuclear capability because their political environments are very very unstable. Besides Arab nations are blessed with plenty of sunshine that could be harnessed and used for their use, as well as to supply electricity to other nations such as Russia.

    As for all those comments against Israel, I just have to say that your minds are intellectually very limited. As in the case for all nations and their people, there are good and bad. No one is perfect and the same applies to any nation. Israel is one of the very few bright nations in the region. It also happens to have given much to the world through its valuable human resources.

    February 15, 2012 at 2:28 am | Reply
    • michaelfury

      "intellectually very limited"

      Free your mind.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:35 am | Reply
    • God

      you're so full of zionist caca.

      Choked full of caca.

      Yep, you're caca with your admiration for a devil worshiping evil people. You're not an American, you're a dirty evil zionist GG. C'mon quit acting like you're in the States. you're in some caca hole in tel-aviv. Can't wait until you dirty evil zionists start WW3 and then I'll get to read about you getting nuked by the Chinese.


      February 15, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply
      • GoodOrevilwhoDecsides

        I can already smell your hatred . And calling yourself god makes me puke.

        February 15, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
      • GoodOrevilwhoDecsides

        Irational dude get off of the toilet and write something constructive cause you are blind to the truth. Cause the garbage you are taught is disgusting is that what you learn from your parents?

        February 15, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  5. Rolf

    You got it all wrong Jonathan. The U.S. and perhaps other nations WANT Israel to do the dirty-work. Then, they will pile on as the anti-semitic world condemns Israel. I am sure you'll be first in line with your condemnation. Cheers!

    February 14, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Reply
    • Jonathan Pollard zionist born American Traitor

      I hate you and all zionists.

      Come ww3 – go ahead isralies – attack Iran – I can't wait to see israel nuked by the Pakistanis and Chinese.

      I can take comfort in knowing this will happen. No more israel – it will get wiped off the planet.

      February 15, 2012 at 7:44 am | Reply
  6. Rolf

    You got it all wrong Jonathan. It's the other way around. The U.S.wants Israel to do the dirty-work. Then, after the world
    criticizes Israel for destroying Iran's nuclear

    February 14, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      Well, look for me on youtube or something because i'll be dancing in the States when they bomb it

      February 14, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Reply
  7. jonathan pollard the AIPAC spy American born traitor

    israel is not our friends. How is it that the dirty evil zionist regime in tel-aviv believe it can threaten the nations in the middle east? What gives them that right??

    the dirty evil zionists are trying to get the U.S. to attack Iran. Iran is a peaceful country and If I was Iran, I would stop being peaceful. I would develope nuclear bombs. Bombs Away . . . . is what Iran should be saying.

    Iran should announce they HAVE nuclear bombs and if the dirty evil zionists want to start WW3, then Iran should say . . . Let's get it on! Heck, I say, Let's Get It On! In the end everyone gets nuked but the best part is . . . israel gets nuked, too!!!! Yipppeeeeeeee!

    And in the end everyone left will know the evil of the zionists and the evil zionist survivors will be hunted down and given what they most deserve. And all the traitor zionists in American will be hunted down, too. They will be given what they deserve, too.

    Yipppeeeeeee! no more zionism and no more israel!

    I can take comfort in knowing that.

    ha ha zionists pigs . . .look at my thumb . . . gee you're dumb!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:53 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason

      People of the Westboro Baptist Church should really shut their mouths

      February 14, 2012 at 11:03 pm | Reply
    • Voice of Reason II


      Sorry to hear of your hatred toward zionism and the impact it has had on your life has been so violently negative. However, since you state that Iran is such a peaceful place why dont you just pack up your things and move there? Seems as if a self proclaimed American traitor likes to live off of the benefits and security of this country. Seems as if you're just a coward.

      February 14, 2012 at 11:51 pm | Reply
      • Jonathan Pollard zionist born American Traitor

        I am Jonathan Pollard and I am a coward. I am also a American born zionist who was found guilty of spying for the dirty evil zionists in israel.

        I am in jail now, but I will soon be free when Bebe has Obama set me free next year. I can't wait. I'll be a millionare when I arrive in israel as a hero for betraying America. The military secrets I handed over to the dirty evil zionists in racist israel was used to kill innocent people plus my zionist masters in racist israel sold the millitary information to the
        chinese. I'll spend all the money you dumb jerk-offs in America give israel – I'll be getting a cut of it.

        I'll be free and whoever said spying doesn't pay is flat wrong. spying is a good thing if you are a zionist spy in America. Here they let you go if you are a zionist spy.

        Yipppppeeee, i am a hero in israel. I'll be getting lots of zionist-bootie – both men and women – since I am, like most zionists, a queer. Yeah, we queer zionists own you dumb americans.

        February 15, 2012 at 7:50 am |

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