The Journal's report revealed, moreover, that Bolton has only a "fresh intelligence assessment" rather than any new intelligence report. That "assessment" is clearly not a product of the intelligence community, which would have taken at least several days to arrive at such a fundamental reinterpretation of Iranian intentions. The mysterious new "assessment" was evidently unknown outside Bolton's office before Bolton swung into action last weekend.
We now know, in fact, that the sources behind Bolton's claim were Israel's national security adviser and intelligence agency. Axios published a report Monday by leading Israeli journalist Barak Ravid, who covers national security for Israel's Channel 13, revealing that a delegation of senior Israeli officials had given Bolton "information" about "possible Iranian plots against the U.S. or its allies in the Gulf" two weeks earlier.
The Israeli delegation, led by national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat, met with Bolton and other unnamed officials in the White House, according to Ravid, to discuss possible Iranian plans. Bolton himself tweeted on April 15 about his meeting with Shabbat:
Great meeting with Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat today. The close United States-Israel strategic partnership reflects the tremendous strength of the ties between our governments and the citizens of our two allied countries. pic.twitter.com/yEMQaFpHVx- Advertisement -
John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) April 15, 2019
Israeli officials told Ravid that they understood that "intelligence, gathered by the Mossad intelligence agency, was part of the reason for Bolton's announcement." What Ravid's official sources told him reveals, however, that what the Israelis provided to Bolton was not really new intelligence at all.; it consisted of several scenarios for what the Iranians might be planning, according to one Israeli official.
"It is still unclear to us what the Iranians are trying to do and how they are planning to do it," the Israeli official told Ravid, "but it is clear to us that the Iranian temperature is on the rise as a result of the growing U.S. pressure campaign against them, and that they are considering retaliating against U.S. interests in the Gulf."
That revelation explains the lack of evidence of either genuine U.S. intelligence reporting or proper assessment to support Bolton's statement.
Bolton is an old hand at using allegedly damning intelligence on Iran to advance a plan of aggressive U.S. war. In 2003-04, he leaked satellite photographs of specific sites in Iran's Parchin military complex to the press, claiming those images provided evidence of covert Iranian nuclear weapons-related experiment -- seven though they showed nothing of the sort. He then tried to pressure International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei to insist on an inspection of the sites. When ElBaradei finally relented, he found nothing in that inspection to support Bolton's claim.
Bolton's deceptive maneuver has the effect of increasing the range of contingencies that would trigger a U.S. strike on Iran and represent a major advance toward his long-declared intention to attack it. More alarmingly, however, some media outlets have reported his claims without any serious questioning.
Given the violent struggles in Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Israel itself, Bolton and the Netanyahu government will be able to portray an incident as an attack by Shiite militias, the Houthis or Hamas on Israeli, Saudi or U.S. "interests," just as Bolton and Pompeo did last fall. That, in turn, would offer an opportunity for urging Trump to approve a strike against one or more Iranian military targets.
Even more alarming is that both acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and new CENTCOM commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie have signed up for the Bolton initiative. That means that the Pentagon and military leaders can no longer be counted on to oppose such a war, as they did in 2007, when Vice President Dick Cheney pushed unsuccessfully for a plan to retaliate against a future Iraqi militia attack on U.S. troops in Iraq.
The United States is in danger of falling for yet another war ruse as malignant as those that led Congress and the mainstream media to accept the invasion of Iraq or the Gulf of Tonkin resolution.