Monday, March 9, 2009

US outs Israel's nukes

US Army document describes Israel as 'a nuclear power'
Haaretz: In a rare breach of official American adherence to Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, the US military is terming Israel 'a nuclear power' on a par with Russia, China, India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which have declared their nuclear weapon status, and ahead of 'nuclear threshold powers' Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, and the 'emerging' Iran...

Israel's nuclear program is rarely, if ever, explicitly mentioned in public, unclassified US official documents. Classified assessments are usually published only years later, in response to Freedom of Information requests, in former officials' recollections or as part of historical research. It is virtually unheard of for a senior military commander, while in office, to refer to Israel's nuclear status.

In December 2006, during his confirmation hearings as Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates referred to Israel as one of the powers seen by Iran as surrounding it with nuclear weapons. But once in office, Gates refused to repeat this allusion to Israel, noting that when he used it he was 'a private citizen.'