Bush's CIA Chief: We Ruled Out Iran Strike

Michael Hayden says it would have backfired then, and would now, too
By Dustin Lushing,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 20, 2012 5:32 PM CST
Gen. Michael Hayden stops to answers a reporter's question in this 2007 file photo.   (AP Photos/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – George W. Bush's administration pondered an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities and ultimately rejected it, says former CIA and NSA chief Gen. Michael Hayden. He and others concluded that an attack on Iran's nuke factories "would guarantee that which we are trying to prevent—an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon and that would build it in secret," Hayden said, according to Foreign Policy. The same rationale holds true today, he warned: Go with diplomacy and back channels or risk pushing Tehran into speeding things up.

Hayden doesn't think the Israelis will launch a strike because "it's beyond their capacity," he said. And the US could do so, but shouldn't. "It's not so much that we don't want Iran to have a nuclear capacity, it's that we don't want this Iran to have it," he said. "Slow it down long enough and maybe the character (of the government) changes."

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