CIA Chief Warned Israel Against Attacking Iran
Panetta told that Israel won't bomb Iran without first alerting Washington
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 15, 2009 5:34 AM CDT
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu raised the issue of Iran with Pope Benedict XVI during the pontiff's visit to Israel this week.   (AP Photo/ GPO, Moshe Milner, HO)
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(Newser) – CIA director Leon Panetta was sent on a secret mission to Israel earlier this month to warn the country's leaders against launching a surprise attack against Iran, the Times of London reports. Panetta asked for—and received—assurances from Israel's hawkish new government  that the country would not bomb Iranian nuclear facilities without alerting the US.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly told Panetta that Israel "did not intend to surprise the US on Iran." Netanyahu will visit Washington this weekend, and he is expected to try to persuade President Obama and Hillary Clinton to take a harder line against Iran, and focus on the Iranian issue instead of talks with the Palestinians.