Discharged IAF fuel tanks
North Korean design?
Israeli officials were convinced that the target of the September 6 raid in Syria was a nuclear facility because they received detailed photographs of the site from a mole that photographed the site, the US news agency ABC reported Saturday.
A senior US official said that Israel had most likely recruited one of the workers at the site or was able to penetrate the facility with one of its own agents posing as an employee.
According to the official quoted in the report, the pictures of the facility showed a number of partially-built structures including a large well-reinforced cylindrical structure and a pump station surrounded by trucks. Nuclear reactors require a constant source of water to keep them cool so a pump station could be indicative of a nuclear site.
Based on the design of the site, the nuclear facility seems to have been built with the assistance of North Korean agents, the official was quoted as saying.
According to ABC, the Israelis went to the CIA with the photographs of the site and the US intelligence agency then consulted its own high-powered satellite images of the facility.
Israeli officials urged the US to destroy the nuclear facility, but the US determined that the logistics of such a mission would make it too difficult, the report said. The site is located nearly a 100 miles from the Iraqi border and inserting Special Forces this deep into Syria with enough explosives to destroy the entire site would have been quite risky.
According to a previous ABC news report in July, the Israelis then decided to bomb the site themselves despite being discouraged from doing so by the Americans. The Bush administration, specifically Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates believed Israel and the US should "confront, not attack" Syria.
The official in the ABC report said the Syrian facility had been there for eight months before the attack, but the lack of fissionable material led the US to doubt whether or not the site was in fact a nuclear facility.
"It was unmistakable what it was going to be. There is no doubt in my mind," the official said in the report.