February 4th, 2012
03:09 PM ET

U.S. and Israel: Trying to gauge each other on Iran

By Adam Levine, Pam Benson and Suzanne Kelly

As questions swirl about whether Israel may preemptively bomb Iranin an effort to slow its nuclear program, a senior congressional official said Friday the the head of intelligence met with American officials to get a better sense of how the U.S.would respond.

The head of Israel's intelligence agency was just in Washington for meetings with intelligence officials and some members of Congress, according to Sen. Diane Feinstein, D-CA, and the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who mentioned the meetings during a hearing this past week.

The congressional source who spoke to CNN said when the head of the Mossad visited Washington this week, it was to hear what steps the United States might take against Iran, and to gauge what the United Stateswould do if Israel were to strike Iran on its own.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta believes Israel could strike Iranas early as this spring, CNN reported on Thursday, citing a defense official familiar with the defense secretary's thinking.