WASHINGTON, April 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. government plans to use massive surveillance before making the call on striking Iran, an intelligence source told The Washington Post.
Since the last years of the George W. Bush administration, CIA surveillance drones have captured satellite imagery of nuclear facilities across Iran. In addition, the National Security Agency has implemented massive eavesdropping efforts against top Iranian officials, the Post said.
All this, along with the dedicated CIA division known as "Persia House," as well as an expanded network of spies, have yielded significant intelligence gains on Iran's nuclear development, the newspaper said. U.S. officials believe this intelligence could serve as an early warning in the event Iran was to develop a nuclear bomb.
"There is confidence that we would see activity indicating that a decision had been made," a senior-level U.S. official told the Post on the condition of anonymity. "Across the board, our access has been significantly improved."
As Israel pushes for a pre-emptive military airstrike on Iran, the Obama administration cited intelligence to argue against it, saying it would take at least a year for Iran to pose a real threat.
Another senior official who agreed to disclose details of U.S. options in Iraq on the condition of anonymity told The Post: "Even in the absolute worst case -- six months -- there is time for the president to have options."