Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor that was nearly ready to produce two bombs, the CIA chief said.
Michael Hayden said Monday that the secret, unfinished reactor that the United States believes Israel bombed Sept. 6 in northeastern Syria eventually would have made fissile material for bombs.
“In the course of a year after they got full up, they would have produced enough plutonium for one or two weapons,” he told reporters.
Israel has refused to provide details on the target of the airstrike, leaving the CIA to deliver an extensive briefing last week on indications that Syria was pursuing nuclear weapons with North Korean help.
In an apparent reference to help from Israeli intelligence, Hayden said that CIA’s disclosures were “the result of a team effort.”
Some Israeli experts have questioned the wisdom of the CIA giving such an expansive account on the reactor because it could compromise intelligence assets in Syria. But Hayden indicated there was no breach of trust with Israel.
“One has to respect the origin of the information in terms of how it is used,” he said.