Rogers Confirms Heated Exchange Between Netanyahu and US Ambassador Over Iranian Threat
A meeting last month to discuss intelligence matters between the United States and Israel turned confrontational when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted Dan Shapiro, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, for what he believes to be an unsatisfactory American position on Iran’s nuclear program, according to Republican Congressman Mike Rogers who attended the sit down.
“There was no doubt. You could not walk out of that meeting and think that they had not lost their patience with this Administration,” Rogers, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, told WJR radio host Frank Beckmann in Michigan.
Jeffrey Goldberg in The Atlantic first reported on this story.
When Beckmann asked Rogers if there was a shouting match between Netanyahu and Shapiro, something that had been reported in Israeli media last week, Rogers said “there were elevated concerns on behalf of the Israelis”.
“We’ve had sharp exchanges with other heads of state and in intelligence services and other things, but nothing at that level that I’ve seen in all my time where people were clearly that agitated, clearly that worked up about a particular issue where there was a very sharp exchange,” Rogers added.
Netanyahu’s concerns were geared towards the Obama administration’s reluctance to state the White House’s “red lines” on Iran’s nuclear program, which if crossed, would call for the use of U.S. military force against Iran. Rogers does not think the Israeli or Iranian government’s believe that President Obama will use force to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.
“Certainly when you walk out of that meeting you get the feeling that they [Israel] are finally at wits’ end, and that’s what concerned me about the meeting,” Rogers told Beckmann.
After describing the potential Iranian “dash” for a nuclear weapon, which would include placing weaponized uranium onto a missile, Rogers was asked how long the Israelis believe Tehran is from being in that position.
“The Israelis believe it’s short,” he said. “I mean, Netanyahu made it very clear he thought it was a matter of weeks. If they decide to do the dash it could be four weeks to eight weeks, which is a month or two months. Our intelligence analysts believe it would be a little longer than that. But the problem is, nobody really knows for sure. But we do know, and I think everyone agrees, including, you know, our European intelligence allies and other things that they are clearly marching down this road.”