Glenn Kessler and Robin Wright have the most comprehensive story, to date, on the mysterious bombing run Israel did in Syria on September 6. They confirm the story that had been floating around–that Israel’s target was a suspected nuclear site, supplied by North Korea. The story is interesting mostly for the exchange of intelligence it portrays. The Israelis first came with intelligence, yet Bush was chill to the attack.

Israel’s decision to attack Syria on Sept. 6, bombing a suspected nuclear site set up in apparent collaboration with North Korea, came after Israel shared intelligence with President Bush this summer indicating that North Korean nuclear personnel were in Syria, U.S. government sources said.

The Bush administration has not commented on the Israeli raid or theunderlying intelligence. Although the administration was deeplytroubled by Israel’s assertion that North Korea was assisting thenuclear ambitions of a country closely linked with Iran, sources said, the White Houseopted against an immediate response because of concerns it wouldundermine long-running negotiations aimed at persuading North Korea toabandon its nuclear program.

But then the US corroborated the Israeli intelligence, and the attack went forward.

Ultimately, however, the United States is believed to have providedIsrael with some corroboration of the original intelligence beforeIsrael proceeded with the raid, which hit the Syrian facility in thedead of night to minimize possible casualties, the sources said.

The article raises doubts about the quality of the Israeli intelligence (and who knows whether our intelligence–supposedly used to corroborate the Israeli intelligence–has gotten any better since the Iraq debacle).

The quality of the Israeli intelligence, the extent of North Koreanassistance and the seriousness of the Syrian effort are uncertain,raising the possibility that North Korea was merely unloading items itno longer needed.

Something’s still stinky about this raid. The creepy silence on all parts suggests there was some there there–but perhaps not what Israel claimed it was. I’m actually wondering whether it doesn’t involve a fifth player–perhaps China–that no one is talking about.




Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.