Israel shouldn’t notify the US on Iran strike, says former US defense secretary

Donald Rumsfeld: Jerusalem has excellent intelligence and knows its capabilities

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

Donald Rumsfeld (photo credit: screen capture FoxNews)
Donald Rumsfeld (photo credit: screen capture FoxNews)

The Israeli government has excellent intelligence on Iran, and it shouldn’t inform the White House before it takes military action, former US secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld told Fox News.

Any Israeli leader who hears repeated calls by Iran for his country to be annihilated or wiped off the map, “has to know that it’s that prime minister’s responsibility to see that that doesn’t happen,” he said in a Thursday night interview.

“Israel’s intelligence on Iran is excellent,” the two-time defense secretary said. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the tools to make the right decision.

Rumsfeld said if he were in the Israeli government, he wouldn’t “notify the United States government of any intent” to take action against Iran. The two countries have a close relationship, he said, but noted it was conceivable that such a phone call “could leak out of the United States government” and reach the press.

Rumsfeld noted the limited effectiveness of international sanctions on Iran. “Sanctions tend not to work very well over a long period of time,” he said, stressing that such actions hurt the people of the country but not the government.

A military attack against Iran would be complicated, Rumsfeld said. “Iran is a sophisticated country. They must have multiple sites” and there are still more obstacles any attacker would face, he said. But the Israeli army and government know their own capabilities and they could probably delay Iran’s development of an atomic bomb, even if they can’t stop it entirely, he added.

Rumsfeld refused to set forth a specific timeline for the development of nuclear capabilities by Iran or for military action against it.

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