One of the biggest questions in the Middle East this past year was whether Israel was preparing to strike Iran''s nuclear program.

In June, Israel was working to lay the psychological foundations for such an attack. And the US became alarmed when Israel carried out a training exercise over the Mediterranean that the US took to be a dry run for a possible strike on Iran.

Today, The New York Times has an extensive report that  shows just how far along  Israel was in its thinking on this last year.

According to The NYT, in early 2008, Israel asked the US for bunker-busting bombs that could be used to strike Iran''s underground nuclear facilities, refueling equipment that would have allowed them to fly to Iran and back, and for permission to fly over Iraq.

The Bush administration deflected the requests for the first two.

And, one top aide to President Bush told the paper: "We said ''hell no'' to the overflights."

According to the report, Israel continued to press for US help, but concluded at the time that they could not hit Iran without US help.