US Shares Blame for Hamas Oct 7 Attack: Ex-CIA Officer
More than two decades ago, the US stopped spying on Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas and focused on Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The US designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. But the Palestine-based militant group appears in the bottom half of the National Intelligence Priorities Framework – a classified document that ranks intelligence gathering priorities.
As such, a retired CIA operations officer believes the US should be blamed for missing the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel. The CIA thought Israel’s robust spying capabilities would allow it to determine and counter any imminent threat.
A report reveals that CIA analysts are in the region, but they have left invasive spy operations, like infiltrating or eavesdropping, to Israel. US intelligence believed Israel had everything under control and Hamas was not a global threat like the ISIS or Hezbollah.
Took Hamas as Toothless Tigers
According to the report, some in the US government believed that Hamas operatives could be recruited. US intel suggested that the relationship between Hamas and Iran might have lessened their ambition to concentrate in the areas under Palestinian control.
But IDF, the most powerful military force in the Middle East, completely underestimated the magnitude of the October 7 attack. It failed in its intelligence gathering efforts because of their mistaken assumption that Hamas was contained.
Experts believe Hamas gunmen had undergone extensive training, undetected, for the assault for at least a year. Moreover, Hamas fighters had meticulous information on Israel’s military bases and the layout of the kibbutzim. Scores of armed Hamas militants crossed the heavily fortified border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, while thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into Israel.
Israel Was Concerned About Iran, Not Hamas
Senior Israeli officers in an interview in September highlighted concerns about being attacked on several fronts by Iran-backed militia groups. They made no mention of Hamas initiating a war with Israel from the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and top Israeli security officials believed Iran and Hezbollah, its most powerful proxy force were the gravest threat to Israel. And this diverted the Israeli government’s attention and resources away from countering Hamas.
Eyal Hulata, Israel’s national security adviser from 2021 to early 2023, said Hamas was able to trick their collection, their analysis, conclusions and their strategic understanding. “I don’t think there was anyone who was involved with affairs with Gaza that shouldn’t ask themselves how and where they were also part of this massive failure.”