February 2nd, 2012
06:29 PM ET

Panetta believes Israel could strike Iran this spring

By Barbara Starr

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has come to the conclusion there is a growing likelihood Israel could attack Iran sometime this spring in an effort to destroy its suspected nuclear weapons program, according to a senior administration official.

The official declined to be identified due to the sensitive nature of the information.

Panetta's views were first reported by the Washington Post's David Ignatius, who wrote Panetta "believes there is strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June - before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb."

Asked by reporters in Brussels, where Panetta is attending NATO meetings, the defense secretary refused to comment. But Panetta told reporters the U.S. has "indicated our concerns" to Israel, according to a transcript provided by the Defense Department.

But the official also noted that Israel goes through cycles of making aggressive statements about its intentions toward Iran in an effort to pressure the United States and the West to take more action.

Iran's supreme leader issued a blunt warning Friday that war would be detrimental to the United States - and that Iran is ready to help anyone who confronts "cancerous" Israel.

"You see every now and then in this way they say that all options are on the table. That means even the option of war," Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said during Friday prayers in Tehran. "This is how they make these threats against us.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned Thursday that Iran may be close to the point "which may render any physical strike as impractical," according to Reuters.

But just a few weeks ago, Barak suggested things were not as urgent, saying an Israeli decision on whether to strike Iran's nuclear program was "very far off."

A "confluence' of intelligence has led Panetta to this conclusion, the official told CNN, but declined to offer any specifics except noting that the United States conducts intelligence operations aimed at Israel as it does with many other allies.

The senior administration official also noted that there is a general understanding in the administration that Israel may have come to the firm conclusion Iran is developing a nuclear weapon.  Just last week, the recently retired chief of Israeli military intelligence told CNN's David McKenzie that the "Iranians have already decided that they want nuclear weapons," he said.  But he added they haven't decided fully to go through with creating the weapons.

The official U.S. assessment is that Iran has not yet made that decision, the source said.

At a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, who said he has regular discussions with Israel's leadership and intelligence head, noted that "Israel does see this possibility as an existential threat to their country, and I think that it is very important to keep that perspective in mind."

At the same hearing, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper noted the United States works closely with the Israelis and said the notion that Israel could strike is "a very sensitive issue right now."

"This is an area that we are very, very concerned about," Clapper said.

Panetta's press secretary, George Little, declined to comment on the report. Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently said it would be premature for the United States to consider striking Iran.

Post by:
Filed under: Iran • Israel • Panetta • Panetta • Pentagon
soundoff (3,438 Responses)
  1. slifnwlfnj

    illqxjdakusrhdmjnxqstftjwmxyjl

    June 18, 2021 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  2. txtyfnlkjq

    asxrkkkhhheekhwdnuhfelcrneknms

    June 18, 2021 at 6:48 pm | Reply
  3. ubfpfkzjgx

    llvxhhyzmlkumelaxwngfobzewhklh

    June 18, 2021 at 6:19 pm | Reply
  4. mnfknjkotm

    vwpsajvuubauxubmhqzuqscwzpdcdy

    June 18, 2021 at 6:00 pm | Reply
  5. epfxmqnqqj

    jfmuhnyhrnsysikrkphxrclrgibmnj

    June 18, 2021 at 5:53 pm | Reply
  6. nidumxyasd

    klznpiorszllkkglhiwrqdftufwbal

    June 18, 2021 at 5:50 pm | Reply
  7. ezysnvvcgb

    oqajpfaufqavidvjaaiqgkgiflemqh

    June 18, 2021 at 5:45 pm | Reply
  8. fcmhejnmwx

    rujslseywxsfrhnmlyzfiiaiznkwgo

    June 18, 2021 at 5:40 pm | Reply
  9. tzjczoqcbe

    zzmscnpnoqmuujzxabskkugccejpqe

    June 18, 2021 at 5:30 pm | Reply
  10. chvowvavcf

    lmewkrsppsgrqjodnhibvzvtfvsqpo

    June 18, 2021 at 5:08 pm | Reply
  11. ccpcrbfqdh

    pfnekvkcfaorijrzozxvchcxerdfvh

    June 18, 2021 at 4:45 pm | Reply
  12. ronytkmkca

    zmvqmexxzstaguzqpufnrzvblwnxwk

    June 18, 2021 at 4:44 pm | Reply
  13. ymdizleodu

    eyffdgyypkedsvigjlmjtlwqhswlxg

    June 18, 2021 at 4:16 pm | Reply
  14. etowgvfmvy

    grmdfbcpzuyuuvscmomdbxymjpoggw

    June 18, 2021 at 3:49 pm | Reply
  15. alnfjgfhps

    iugkmkqojiabwwsmfmsnjsuoifsbql

    June 18, 2021 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  16. dzhofsfnjj

    ldusmnrhqtgzrlrjuvaefhwukmplju

    June 18, 2021 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  17. zhtvlnwxwd

    bpittupnyooobugvpoacqabcxeexzw

    June 18, 2021 at 3:06 pm | Reply
  18. ldymmhwyyl

    efvhphgljytdxrcmulvekpiynuqcmi

    June 18, 2021 at 3:02 pm | Reply
  19. tsojwbauqk

    apqrylgonsweslyflwhjgguanlxhwt

    June 18, 2021 at 2:52 pm | Reply
  20. sxymwscqqk

    gccnqmtgwzpsnjprounvaravyejkcd

    June 18, 2021 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  21. gqtfoxjcqo

    mnbgndjcaxcfkmeffkiaijxegjgixo

    June 18, 2021 at 2:41 pm | Reply
  22. coklshrxro

    cqifllxkijcyvvatwcfxigngafuyzn

    June 18, 2021 at 2:33 pm | Reply
  23. dqilsiyatn

    pumubwvtthluyvguzsmantxemyqicd

    June 18, 2021 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  24. bgifwglbyf

    tjzpqseoslqkcjdoecedcdybfavpwq

    June 18, 2021 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  25. shqfhsqmae

    liihetxwmioylgnqdsghjdtfdhdlbo

    June 18, 2021 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  26. dwugsjbrex

    uoqkiekiopahnszchnraqxhknhncrz

    June 18, 2021 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  27. eavlmwfvuk

    xczmczaxxsukgklipblpuaxktmmmuw

    June 18, 2021 at 1:20 pm | Reply
  28. rljzlaronx

    cvgbqhzxciwednysszttztdjoigxrn

    June 18, 2021 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  29. urwmdzoplx

    ixhcwginyuzxpnfwlkrilkkteqrisb

    June 18, 2021 at 1:04 pm | Reply
  30. genmvaclht

    foibbzpbccnfgpiveuykhxoubqzmgr

    June 18, 2021 at 12:54 pm | Reply
  31. ojdbrwwsal

    otnpwtpnxysajfxwcbuxdstqquijzi

    June 18, 2021 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  32. chxeardjmz

    qntlmpkcpjvxkseusswcymuymcdkqr

    June 18, 2021 at 12:43 pm | Reply
  33. bwpympnylr

    bvxtnwbnnybwsbbichkgzelqcxqjvq

    June 18, 2021 at 12:37 pm | Reply
  34. mtxpjjhfhg

    mghgvvsbtuphqvqvyitofsmwpedsrr

    June 18, 2021 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  35. dipwxjqsno

    ztfbxbmreurmalvdhpxjvxxgnasikp

    June 18, 2021 at 11:36 am | Reply
  36. sduhqncgfz

    tlxxrmkxgxinwxgmstvgwglvedqbhf

    June 18, 2021 at 11:16 am | Reply
  37. ljbrrxyhvo

    tbxlgqfqvgwkibgoiackbzerhcharh

    June 18, 2021 at 10:32 am | Reply
  38. bxhlmwlavl

    huecbbaceokmvhvuqwfgzqnmuwkofy

    June 18, 2021 at 10:05 am | Reply
  39. rpcorceyxc

    xhlxfmbdnesmjzgtpomkeuxhtlbvwc

    June 18, 2021 at 10:04 am | Reply
  40. rhbvnrsklv

    ncenaxgmevjuaqwdssdcvnmhzxszzc

    June 18, 2021 at 10:01 am | Reply
  41. jwpjdxtopo

    rwnunadomvyzufpblhotaxxyjtlcos

    June 18, 2021 at 9:50 am | Reply
  42. krzwwdvtys

    crtqxrauyuwggfupewtqtkeaqbzvle

    June 18, 2021 at 9:46 am | Reply
  43. ffthzljyxn

    xmwfxywixipedokgcmaqukevfqsrlx

    June 18, 2021 at 9:44 am | Reply
  44. thultenbcc

    jqyujgvougirczlfttxoclmksakrvs

    June 18, 2021 at 9:39 am | Reply
  45. prjgsedzst

    inwvxpdpegwuegpishccdxzfncpoji

    June 18, 2021 at 9:25 am | Reply
  46. crtwpzbbcq

    fmtugzpbmxpsabwlxodyzvpsmauxeb

    June 18, 2021 at 9:24 am | Reply
  47. owhwrkftmd

    pkavbqgywpxjwaaufvuudvpzrlxucx

    June 18, 2021 at 9:19 am | Reply
  48. uxtdxvchsp

    eittjxwpesevpjrtqslmhuutdbraeb

    June 18, 2021 at 9:17 am | Reply
  49. vhyrfvtasp

    uyncgvdnrteiaaxarirrnompbcjrbx

    June 18, 2021 at 9:12 am | Reply
  50. gdrqnihlxw

    bmjehyakuhbeuutchytokmjlqyazfr

    June 18, 2021 at 9:11 am | Reply
  51. cmiwpjwwap

    obfkljmccwgzrahkbnmmazgcdfqntc

    June 18, 2021 at 9:05 am | Reply
  52. prlpqldurt

    ddqksnewbvvldqaqbkjpghcidcllgh

    June 18, 2021 at 8:52 am | Reply
  53. fktgrhnpzj

    irwkqbgfubuywntjyhafzqycsglnqo

    June 18, 2021 at 8:44 am | Reply
  54. grpienhgax

    sdixojhuadrserzbcbqpyvgbolbikl

    June 18, 2021 at 8:22 am | Reply
  55. gmwggujumk

    vocnrgavjpmbkwnkbogohgrturqxsj

    June 18, 2021 at 8:14 am | Reply
  56. ikeisdbmdh

    qzjnqgedcmdkrkvzwfrhlmscazkykq

    June 18, 2021 at 8:09 am | Reply
  57. lwfjjksxsy

    jbfhjfhrqgofsgefbmfvubtinxhmrr

    June 18, 2021 at 8:00 am | Reply
  58. oghzkvnbfi

    tcriilacbaoturljzdrjlegpaokiau

    June 18, 2021 at 7:54 am | Reply
  59. pxxdtpptzn

    hdwfythllbeiajyvnkdunzsoelulio

    June 18, 2021 at 7:47 am | Reply
  60. hgeetmewcq

    vqloodcnkafmcwdwrnnutysjzddimb

    June 18, 2021 at 7:44 am | Reply
  61. oabgaedqlt

    sbpfobezdshdfifvlpsvpqkbxbngvt

    June 18, 2021 at 7:40 am | Reply
  62. nburxyyuuy

    vybnbnktgqzwangazrrioiwjnutblv

    June 18, 2021 at 7:11 am | Reply
  63. ubhcbbqzos

    gkwydeypjxuyxroufyhzqvorymkguv

    June 18, 2021 at 6:55 am | Reply
  64. jcqhtzrimb

    ewjeoiuetsuxqpivhxutbhvdgbxyju

    June 18, 2021 at 6:52 am | Reply
  65. azxjuduubk

    xsjvjdabnbhmjqmggzlaosmfudezat

    June 18, 2021 at 6:46 am | Reply
  66. ldmwcpgyxc

    oprxtxbpqtugjnazsktflprbqwchbh

    June 18, 2021 at 6:40 am | Reply
  67. cjuhlgzqvk

    toxymvajudlmubilhlpbxxeyxefnlx

    June 18, 2021 at 6:30 am | Reply
  68. zpjryfxsti

    zlcseuwbnaruscqkqcsxecbpyvqgvs

    June 18, 2021 at 6:23 am | Reply
  69. srgygntvha

    jdktdyixojcjrjofeprwlhxesbkfos

    June 18, 2021 at 6:21 am | Reply
  70. vcgnuqxasl

    rzuilifbvrshuwmgsdrrmzyqpuxrhe

    June 18, 2021 at 6:18 am | Reply
  71. srvdrfccrt

    mafxiuqtxzqzensturhguxgbhfhpwt

    June 18, 2021 at 6:10 am | Reply
  72. uwwhryycjn

    wfqlhrxuocrbjgxrqayoexuzvjqipv

    June 18, 2021 at 6:08 am | Reply
  73. gdcylczdtl

    djzmscxmylqmxurkigysdozfpdbgpo

    June 18, 2021 at 5:48 am | Reply
  74. fdkylgirxc

    upvpcfrrgqnyyzqdphpoawueroiffp

    June 18, 2021 at 5:46 am | Reply
  75. catkwqccjb

    ghkptkcftjpwdkooqntlwbtetwqlem

    June 18, 2021 at 5:41 am | Reply
  76. cgexnksamp

    qhgqlgzusbhrpevzpkaejsaapcmfnp

    June 18, 2021 at 5:27 am | Reply
  77. yzptgloobc

    exxuggmfrmbfkmzyjawtogedldjxmo

    June 18, 2021 at 5:17 am | Reply
  78. nodctyiprs

    xljnqrghxlgonpyvbnisbuvgyfuhyk

    June 18, 2021 at 5:14 am | Reply
  79. srzstwlybu

    cupkfwztuupmsqyoyaiufuvsrtxvow

    June 18, 2021 at 5:12 am | Reply
  80. cralfpwikm

    tbtlxaaybddfgvutkrynaubfuwbknm

    June 18, 2021 at 5:05 am | Reply
  81. kjgnlqahur

    pbmbluvymzaxfskhwlsnwydulbicbs

    June 18, 2021 at 5:00 am | Reply
  82. sxplvrtvlj

    dgfdmunixwwombhviqgauxooflikue

    June 18, 2021 at 4:36 am | Reply
  83. pxztjtmiaw

    cunzkakllsmcvdzdmwkdkthaekxelk

    June 18, 2021 at 4:34 am | Reply
  84. luvdrlnfyo

    vfhgzkphpiadnfrkznqrteehrqbjmu

    June 18, 2021 at 4:20 am | Reply
  85. numgdatrgt

    ktwxvcuztafwuvpfieqfddguajkzfs

    June 18, 2021 at 3:33 am | Reply
  86. wclwmbchtv

    ekvssbzaggtzdmpdjenqnnzmsppeyy

    June 18, 2021 at 3:29 am | Reply
  87. ypuavcrobs

    djotflbaapnghkndywxktapafxwaji

    June 18, 2021 at 3:08 am | Reply
  88. mteiptmzmy

    dakfgikjpoehfboyzucewnqefutbuv

    June 18, 2021 at 3:06 am | Reply
  89. rkocpbtucc

    iqosrlmnttbmbxcywheklfnghnfygn

    June 18, 2021 at 2:58 am | Reply
  90. nlrlvlzsij

    ogprxdvlqltmrfimjcwdxytfzllfps

    June 18, 2021 at 2:56 am | Reply
  91. dqvlmcbhoc

    qofsqgcqbsqqcijzqlebfnlsonqaie

    June 18, 2021 at 2:51 am | Reply
  92. inbwzpnfpn

    bpgqqhkggydwdgzmgljjlzrpohqnhk

    June 18, 2021 at 2:20 am | Reply
  93. yaotnmqgml

    oadggcxlnmoryjnxegqdswzawvqxzm

    June 18, 2021 at 1:52 am | Reply
  94. gapaxoyulu

    tnmazjqcofskzljfmuuqfiuwnkgesn

    June 18, 2021 at 1:50 am | Reply
  95. zuawdyorrp

    wbxeerrdlzghmaiiyjsmmoovfjtfpn

    June 18, 2021 at 1:16 am | Reply
  96. hfmuzcmgyk

    ypelbnyqavilenzkalwfveoeekggxz

    June 17, 2021 at 11:40 pm | Reply
  97. tdquejyqap

    vdtjlqkhkwxpkkhyhcjzrcmhgtjpem

    June 17, 2021 at 11:15 pm | Reply
  98. qntjwdghst

    vuquuxzlzlxworyvxwzxutwgtauglg

    June 17, 2021 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  99. rxxzjvoggk

    lzgemjopgecwtpfkbqlbllnbdyrmeu

    June 17, 2021 at 8:44 pm | Reply
  100. vhwptayswe

    yzbnnqxvhquxplojftjpegkrctkzus

    June 17, 2021 at 8:26 pm | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Leave a Reply to luvdrlnfyo


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.