For years, there was nothing more than speculation to indicate Israel had nuclear weapons.
The Jewish state still won't admit or deny it has a nuclear arsenal or disclose the number of warheads at its disposal. But now hackers who have raided former Secretary of State Colin Powell's personal email account have released an email in which he offers a specific number, saying Israel has about 200 nukes.
Powell pinpointed the number of nuclear weapons in an email conversation with Jeffrey Leeds, an investment banker and big-time donor to Democrats. He also said they're all pointed in one direction.
Telling Leeds he doesn't think the Iranians would use nuclear weapons even if they acquired them, Powell told Leeds that “the boys in Tehran know Israel has 200, all targeted on Tehran, and we have thousands.”
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The email was originally published by the LobeLog foreign policy website, according to The Times of Israel.
Powell's figure of 200 nuclear warheads is more than double the number estimated by a 2014 report by the Federation of American Scientists, which said Israel probably had about 80 nukes.
The Israel-themed email is one of several revelatory and damaging conversations pulled from Powell's email account, including several featuring unflattering references to presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Powell called Trump an "international pariah," while criticizing what he called Clinton's "unbridled ambition," adding that she is "greedy" and "not transformational," according to NBC News. The former Army general doesn't deny the emails are authentic, and through a spokesman said the hackers who infiltrated his email account likely have more damaging emails.
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In a March 2015 email, Powell told Leeds he doesn't trust Iran, but also took a shot at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's dire proclamations that Iran is about to acquire nuclear weapons.
“Bibi [Netanyahu] likes to say ‘a year away,’ as do our intel guys," Powell wrote. "They say it every [year]."