COOPER: Let us dig deeper, though, with CNN national security analyst Fran Townsend. She's also a member of the CIA External Advisory Committee.
Fran, we should point out, along with more than 100 members of Congress and other former senior U.S. national security officials, has publicly advocated the U.S. take the Iran opposition group, MEK, off the U.S. State Department's list of terror groups, just as the European Union has already done.
So what do you make of this report that Secretary Panetta basically tipping Israeli's hand like this? Why would this be leaked?
FRANCES TOWNSEND, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CONTRIBUTOR: Well, you know, it's odd, Anderson. And this is one of the series. We talked last night. Leon Panetta has been out there talking about the drawing down of troops in Afghanistan. His views of Pakistan's counterterrorism relationship with us. All of this seemingly off message.
I mean, he's in a position to know. He's met with the Israelis. We know that there's robust intelligence exchanged. Most of which there's agreement on. There seems to be some conflict between the American and Israeli view about the ability of Iran and the intention of Iran to deliver a payload, that is the missile part of it. The delivery system. And so --
COOPER: Right. And that he was saying on "60 Minutes" that he thinks the actual development of a bomb could be a year or so off, but then the development of a missile that could actually deliver it could be another year.
TOWNSEND: That's right. That's right, and so when he describes that window, you understand why now he's talking about this three or four months, May, June, or July. The interesting thing, Anderson, is if he understands that from the Israelis, why would he signal that? Because of course he'll make it much more difficult for the Israelis if that's what they intend to do.
The answer to that may in fact be that it's a brushback pitch. It's a signal to the Israelis about just how strongly we don't want them to do this and pull us in with them.
COOPER: A brushback pitch.
COOPER: So what? That's leaking something --
TOWNSEND: Well, it's making a public statement so the Israelis know very clearly, we're not just saying privately to them, we don't want them to do a bombing mission in Iran. We're saying, we're committing this publicly and we're making it much more difficult for them to do something we don't want them --
COOPER: How have I never heard that phrase? I like it. It's interesting.
This wasn't Panetta's first brushback pitch. It was nice of "whitewasher" Fran to toss it for Leon on international television.
Two brushbacks? Leon Panetta's halfway to walking Israel. That is if they don't go for the home run first.
There's almost no way if there's a military action taken by Israel that the U.S. does not in some way get pulled into it.Which is the plan. Setup woman Townsend delivered the meme stream, once again.