Former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden has recommended giving Israel access to bunker-buster bombs to deter Iranian aggression, though he stopped short of advocating outright sale of the weapons.
“I can imagine circumstances where the U.S. might want to take steps to convince Iran of its seriousness,” he told The Jerusalem Post in an interview published Thursday. “Allowing Israel to purchase them [bunker-busters] in gradations, training on them, but keeping them here” in the U.S.
The U.S. has so far refused to sell the advanced ordnance to Israel, which has sought procurement of them in order to destroy Iran nuclear sites buried deep underground in any future military action.
Hayden explained his reservation about not selling them without strings attached, because Israel might otherwise “be more aggressive and pull us into something we do not want to be pulled into.”
This way, the powerful bombs — and the Israelis — would be kept under U.S. control while sending a message to Tehran that an Israeli air strike would be a real threat.
Meanwhile, the former intelligence chief favors allowing the Iran nuclear deal to remain intact.
“Leave it there. It is what you’ve got.
“I was never a fan of the deal, but we’ve got the deal. It has had some positive effects. But there are a whole bunch of other things Iran is doing that we have quite legitimate concerns about.”
On the subject of Syria, Hayden shared the Israel view that the Iranian presence in Syria must be dealt with.
He said that Washington’s indifference seemed to be “allowing not just a Shi’a arc metaphorically, but also physically on the ground [to develop from Iran through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon],” adding, “This is very important.”
Hayden elaborated: “As Raqqa falls, two American-trained armies are fighting each other in Kirkuk [the Kurds against the Shi’ites]. One of them has a very strong Iranian mobile presence. Not that this is easy [to deal with]. There are no good options. But I do not see an adequate sense of concern about those developments. We are defeating IS, but leaving Iran, Russia and friends in a much stronger position.”