According to Sanger, an aide to Bush said the president immediately denied the request to fly over Iraq and deflected the other requests, telling the Israeli government Washington had developed a new covert action program to sabotage the Iranian nuclear project.
The U.S. government also briefed Tel Aviv on this program, which consisted of trying to disrupt the chain of nuclear suppliers to Iran, harass Iranian scientists, and sabotage equipment at Natanz.
“Several details of the covert effort have been omitted from this account, at the request of senior United States intelligence and administration officials,” Sanger wrote.
The first week in June 2008 the Israeli air force carried out a long-range military exercise that strongly resembled a rehearsal for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities. It included helicopters and refueling tankers that flew more than 900 miles, about the same distance from Israel to the Natanz plant in Iran.