A senior White House official has emphasized that the U.S. intelligence community had no prior knowledge of Hamas’s plans to target Israel in the October 7 attacks. The statement contradicts reports suggesting otherwise.
National Security Council Coordinator’s Remarks
In a December 3 interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby stated that there was no “warning” or “knowledge” of Hamas’s attack plan within the U.S. intelligence community.
These assertions come in response to a report by The New York Times, which claimed that Israeli officials had discovered Hamas’s attack plans over a year before the attack occurred. The statement cited documents, emails, and interviews as evidence.
It’s worth noting that the U.S. and Israeli intelligence communities have previously shared intelligence.
The “Jericho Wall” Blueprint
The NY Times also referred to a 40-page blueprint codenamed “Jericho Wall,” which allegedly detailed Hamas’s plan and had circulated among Israeli military and intelligence officials.
Israeli experts reportedly dismissed the strategy, believing it to be too challenging for Hamas to execute without assistance.
Complex Nature of Intelligence Gathering
John Kirby reiterated that, to his knowledge, no one in the U.S. intelligence community had access to the document before the attack.
He emphasized the intricate and sometimes imperfect nature of intelligence gathering, comparing it to assembling a mosaic where some pieces may need to be included.
Avoiding the Blame Game
Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and other nations, launched a surprise attack against Israel on October 7, involving air, land, and sea operations.
The raid resulted in casualties and hostage situations. Israel responded with a declaration of war against Hamas.
Israeli Response and Casualties
Israel initiated military operations against Hamas in Gaza, and the conflict escalated. The number of casualties, including civilian deaths, remains a matter of dispute between the parties involved.
No Direct Comment on Israeli Intelligence
John Kirby refrained from making direct comments on whether the attack was a result of Israeli intelligence failure.
Instead, he referenced statements made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who acknowledged a possible failure on their part.
Focus on Eliminating Threat
The immediate focus, according to Kirby, should be on eliminating the threat posed by Hamas rather than assigning blame. He stressed the importance of addressing the ongoing security situation.
Following a failed truce negotiation, Israel intensified its operations in Gaza, leading to a resumption of hostilities. Kirby attributed the resumption to Hamas.
Addressing Civilian Safety
Kirby mentioned efforts to encourage Israel to limit civilian casualties and specify safe areas for Palestinian civilians during military operations.
However, he declined to elaborate on specific conversations with Israel.
Shared Goal of Reducing Civilian Harm
In conclusion, Kirby emphasized that both the U.S. and Israel shared the goal of reducing civilian casualties and minimizing damage to civilian infrastructure.
The focus remains on addressing the complex security situation in the region.