`During his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Gates mentioned why Iran might be seeking the means to build an atomic bomb: “They are surrounded by powers with nuclear weapons: Pakistan to their east, the Russians to the north, the Israelis to the west and us in the Persian Gulf,” he said.
The remark led Israeli news bulletins. State-run radio suggested Gates may have breached a U.S. “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that dates back to the late 1960s.
“It’s quite unprecedented,” a retired Israeli diplomat told Reuters on Thursday when asked about Gates’s testimony. “I can only assume he has yet to get to grips with the understandings that exist between us and the Americans.”‘