NEW YORK (Reuters) - President George W. Bush deflected Israel's secret request last year for bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran's main nuclear complex, saying he had authorized covert action to sabotage Tehran's suspected atomic weapons development, The New York Times said.
Citing U.S. and foreign officials, the Times reported on Saturday the White House was unable to determine whether Israel had decided to carry out the strike before Washington objected or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was trying to get Bush to act more decisively before he leaves office this month.
Israeli government officials declined comment on the report.
A U.S. official told Reuters in September that the Pentagon had refused an Israeli request for unspecified "offensive" items that could be used on Iran. To reassure the Israelis, Washington instead gave them advanced radars for spotting missile launches.
Details of the expanded U.S. covert program and the Bush administration's efforts to talk Israel out of attacking Iran emerged from 15 months of interviews with current and former U.S. officials, international nuclear inspectors, outside experts and European and Israeli officials, the Times said.
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