Intelligence experts Ray McGovern and Greg Thielmann respond to a question from the floor on the significance of Israel's nuclear weapons arsenal in the discussion of Iran. McGovern notes that "an unpardonable mistake in US politics is to mention the Israeli arsenal as a motivation for Iran." Adding that, "by acknowledging the Israeli nukes, one realizes that Iran is surrounded on all sides by nuclear powers. Russia to the North, Pakistan to the East, Israel to the West, and US ships in the Persian Gulf to the South.
Thielmann cautions US figures on the danger of ignoring the fact that, "between Iran and Israel, only one of these two states is currently under existential threat, and that is Iran."
Ray McGovern is a retired CIA officer. McGovern was employed under seven US presidents for over 27 years, presenting the morning intelligence briefings at the White House under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. McGovern was born and raised in the Bronx, graduated summa cum laude from Fordham University, received an M.A. in Russian Studies from Fordham, a certificate in Theological Studies from Georgetown University, and graduated from Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.
Greg Thielmann is a Senior Fellow at the Arms Control Association, located in Washington, DC. Thielmann came to fame in 2003 when he quit his position as director of the Strategic, Proliferation and Military Affairs Office at the State Department's Intelligence Bureau, citing the manufacturing of intelligence concerning the Iraqi government's weapons program. He openly criticized the false information that was then used to gain support for launching the US-led invasion and occupation of Iraq. This brought an end to a 25-year career in the US foreign service officer.