The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported over the weekend that the United States may be preparing for a military strike against Iranian facilities believed to be part of a suspected clandestine nuclear weapons program. The speculation centers on reports in a number of articles published over the holidays in the German press that various United States allies have been told about the possibility of an upcoming attack. According to the German news agency DDP, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, and Pakistan have all been informed of the United States’ military plans although the plans were reportedly revealed with the usual disclaimer that air strikes were a “possible option.” Perhaps most interestingly, both the Turkish and German press are reporting that on Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Porter Goss’ December 12, 2005 visit to Ankara, Goss asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possible military strike and an exchange of intelligence information that could aid the mission. The German press has further reported that the United States has informed its western allies of its potential attack (via high-ranking diplomatic sources) and that the United States has provided Turkey with dossiers showing a link between Iran and al-Qaida.
Last January, there were reports that the United States was flying military aircraft over Iran and using various commando units to gather intelligence inside Iran, but the Bush administration has repeatedly claimed that it is not gearing up for a military attack.