But the issue is not supposed to be discussed openly by those who work for the U.S. government and hold active security clearances. Even members of Congress are routinely admonished not to even mention the existence of an Israeli nuclear arsenal, said Avner Cohen, a professor at the James Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Its noteworthy that someone like Colin Powell said that, said Cohen, who has written extensively about Israels nuclear program. Obviously, he was privy to all kinds of intelligence on this issue. Its kind of considered by everybody to be a public fact, but the United States government as a matter of policy has never said that. Cohen said U.S. intelligence on Israels nuclear program carries top level classification. As an indication of the subjects sensitivity, he pointed to the recent case James Doyle, a political scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico who lost his job after publishing an academic paper in 2013 that included Israel on a list of nations that either possess nuclear arms or are in alliance with nuclear powers. Powells leaked email, which was among thousands of his messages posted earlier this week to the website DCLeaks.com, provides fodder for defenders of Hillary Clintons use of a private email server while she served as secretary of state from 2009 to 2013. The Democratic presidential nominee has faced withering criticism from Republicans for exchanging emails with her aides that contained sensitive government information.
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The unnamed spokesman said the IS advance on the base was stopped after Russian warplanes were called in to hit IS positions. Russia called for an emergency session of the U.N. Security Council and demanded "full and detailed explanations about whether this was deliberate support of the Islamic State or another mistake." Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova was quoted by the state news agency TASS as saying that "after today's attack on the Syrian army, we come to the terrible conclusion that the White House is defending the Islamic State." A Russian Defense Ministry official said Syria has informed them that 62 of its soldiers were killed in the airstrike. Russia has been waging a year-old air campaign on behalf of Assad's forces and closely coordinates with them. Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the airstrike near Deir el-Zour airport, held by the government, was conducted by two F-16s and two A-10s. He did not identify the planes' country affiliation, but said they were part of the international coalition. Konashenkov said the planes came from the direction of the Iraqi border, he added. He added that if the coalition attack was launched by mistake, the reason for it was a "stubborn reluctance by the American side to coordinate its action against terrorist groups in Syria with Russia." IS has repeatedly attacked the government-held air base, which is an isolated enclave deep in extremist-held territory.