Brennan made secret trip to Israel to discuss Iran
CIA director John Brennan made a secret trip to Israel last week to discuss Iran with the Israeli intelligence community and Prime Minister Netanyahu.
CIA Director John Brennan paid a visit to Israel last week, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top security officials to discuss the emerging agreement with Iran over its nuclear program and ways to ensure that it adheres to its terms.
His unpublicized visit, reported Tuesday by the daily Haaretz, came several days before that of the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, who arrived Monday as the guest of Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot. Dempsey will also meet with Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon.
Although planned some time ago, both visits come just weeks before the June 30 deadline for talks with Iran on curbing its nuclear program.
While Netanyahu and most Israeli politicians are still harshly critical of the deal being worked out between Iran and six world powers, Israel's defense establishment reportedly believes it has positive aspects.
On Monday, Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Iran has upheld all of its obligations under the January interim nuclear agreement with a group of six world powers. Blinken, speaking to a Washington audience, said Israel’s security had already been improved under the provisions of the temporary agreement, The Times of Israel reported.
Acknowledging that Israel and the United States have disagreed on ways to prevent Iran from making nuclear weapons, Blinken said that “we may have our differences, but our bedrock security relationship is sacrosanct and it is stronger than ever. It is at the center of our minds when we sit at the negotiating table with Iran.”
Brennan came bearing a similar message for his hosts - Mossad head Tamir Pardo, the head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi and National Security Adviser, Yossi Cohen.
A few days before his arrival in Israel, Brennan told "Face the Nation" that the diplomatic and political tensions between President Barack Obama and Netanyahu are not harming cooperation between the intelligence organizations of the two countries.
There has been a rare public disagreement within Mossad about how close the Iranians are to construction of a nuclear bomb. But there is general agreement that the nuclear deal Washington is pushing will not slow Iran's ability to assemble a weapon. This has been Netanyahu's point all along, and it would be interesting to know just what Brennan told him on that score.
It appears there will be no June 30 "deadline" for an agreement with Iran. Negotiations will end only when an agreement of some kind is forged. Obama has invested too much of his credibility into completing a deal not to do everything he can to satisfy Iranian demands, which means just about everything in the framework deal negotiated in April that Iran doesn't like will be out in a final agreement.
Remember: a really, really bad deal is better than no deal at all.