According to the Times of Israel, the US intelligence on Iran’s alleged role in earlier attacks on oil tankers came from the Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. Other reports implied that Mossad had advanced warning of the attacks, and had passed on information to the US several weeks before the first incidents.
“Mossad had tipped off the United States on an impending Iranian attack on American interests in the Gulf, prompting Washington to deploy an aircraft carrier strike group to the region, in a sharp escalation of US President Donald Trump’s pressure campaign,” added the Times. “Israeli officials conveyed information gathered largely by the Mossad on an Iranian plan to attack either a US or US-allied target, details of which were not provided to the network.”
The alleged intelligence was reportedly passed on by Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben Shabbat to his counterpart, John Bolton, in April — a month prior to the first attacks. According to Bolton himself, the meeting with Ben Shabbat covered “our shared commitment to countering Iranian malign activity & other destabilizing actors in the Middle East & around the world.”
Yet the conclusions of the Bolton-Ben Shabbat intelligence coordination did not seem to match British intelligence assessments of the threat posed by Iran, even after the latest attack.
At a recent Pentagon press conference, a senior British military official, Major General Chris Ghika — a deputy commander of Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition conducting counter-terrorist operations against Isis in Iraq and Syria — contradicted the US position when he remarked that “No — there’s been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces” in the region. “We monitor them along with a whole range of others because that’s the environment we’re in. If the threat level seems to go up then we’ll raise our force protection measures accordingly.”