The Slatest

Report: CIA Director Secretly Briefed Israeli Intelligence Officials on Iran Nuclear Deal

CIA Director John Brennan, shown here at a 2014 meeting of the Council on Foreign Relations, reportedly provided a secret briefing to Israeli defense officials about Iranian nuclear negotiations.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

CIA director John Brennan traveled to Israel in secret last week to brief Mossad intelligence officials on “the agreement developing between Iran and the world powers on Tehran’s nuclear program and Iran’s involvement in terror and subversive activities throughout the Middle East,” according to a report Tuesday in Haaretz:

The senior Israeli officials, who asked to remain anonymous due to the secrecy of the visit, said that Brennan was the guest of Mossad head Tamir Pardo, and also met with other members of the Israeli intelligence community, including the head of Military Intelligence, Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi. Brennan also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and National Security Adviser Yossi Cohen.

The CIA reportedly declined to comment on the Haaretz report. 

Relations between President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have been increasingly chilly, with Netanyahu appearing in March before Congress in Washington D.C. to denounce U.S. negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

Brennan recently denied to CBS News that tensions between the American and Israeli heads of state would harm cooperation between intelligence agencies, Haaretz notes:

“There is very, very strong relationship between the United States and Israel on the intelligence, security and military fronts,” [Brennan] said. “It’s one of the great things, I think, about our system; there can be policy differences between our governments but the intelligence and security professionals know that we have an obligation to keep our countries safe and secure.

“And so although there’s been great debate about the Iranian nuclear negotiations that are ongoing, the CIA, NSA and other intelligence community entities are working very close with their Israeli… counterparts.”

The Haaretz story on Brennan’s secret briefing comes in the middle of a public visit to Israel by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, who arrived Monday in Tel Aviv for meetings that, in addition to addressing concerns about Iran’s nuclear capabilities, will reportedly include “discussions of an increase in American military aid to Israel.”

The Jerusalem Post reports that Dempsey’s visit will also feature a gesture of thanks, with the general, who is stepping down from his post in October, set to receive a “medal of appreciation” from the chief of staff of the Israeli Defense Force.