Report: Mossad Chief's Secret U.S. Visit Meant to Gauge American Response to Israeli Attack on Iran

The Daily Beast report follows disclosure of Tamir Pardo's clandestine meetings in Washington last month during Senate panel hearing.

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Barak Ravid
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Barak Ravid

Mossad chief Tamir Pardo's secret visit to Washington earlier this month was meant to gauge how the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama would react to an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear program, The Daily Beast reported on Monday.

Pardo's visit was exposed last month by Haaretz after top U.S. officials mentioned his participation in a series of meetings in Washington at a public hearing in the Senate.

Mossad chief Tamir PardoCredit: Moti Milrod

During the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing , in which CIA Director David Petraeus and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper participated, panel chairperson Dianne Feinstein asked Clapper whether or not Israel intended to strike Iran's nuclear facilities. Clapper responded that he would rather discuss the issue behind closed doors.

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Feinstein then indicated that she had met Pardo earlier in the week in Washington. Petraeus responded that he had also met with Pardo, and cited what he called Israel's growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The entire exchange was broadcasted live on American television.

On Monday, a report in The Daily Beast, which cited U.S. officials, shed some light on the visit, saying the Mossad chief had visited the U.S. in order to determine how the U.S. would react if Israel attacked Iran's nuclear program despite U.S. objections.

According to U.S. officials cited in the report, Pardo asked top American officials questions such as : What is our posture on Iran? Are we ready to bomb? Would we [do so later]? What does it mean if [Israel] does it anyway?

The report added that Israel has ceased sharing a "significant" amount of intelligence concerning its military preparations with the U.S.

On Sunday, state-run news agency IRNA reported that Iran's foreign ministry summoned Azerbaijan's ambassador to rebuke him for his country's alleged link to Mossad operations against the regime in Tehran.

Earlier Sunday, the London Times reported that Israel's Mossad is using Azerbaijan as a base to spy on the Islamic Republic, citing testimony from an anonymous Mossad agent.

According to IRNA, Iran's foreign ministry handed Javanshir Akhundov, the Azeri Ambassador to Iran, a note calling on the government of Azerbaijan to stop the Mossad's anti-Iran operations in its country.

"Following the movements of the terrorists involved in assassination of Iranian scientists in Azerbaijan republic and the facilities provided to them to go to Tel Aviv in collaboration with Mossad spy networks, Azeri Ambassador to Iran Javanshir Akhundov was summoned to the Foreign Ministry," IRNA quoted the Foreign Ministry as saying in a statement.

Akhundov, in response, said he would convey the message to the Azeri government and bring back a reply.

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