A pair of categorised C.I.A. intelligence stories issued within the days forward of a significant Hamas assault on Israel warned a couple of potential escalation in violence however didn’t predict the complicated, multipronged assault that Hamas gunmen launched in opposition to Israel days later, in response to U.S. officers.
The primary of the intelligence stories, dated Sept. 28, described the chance that Hamas would launch rockets into Israel over a interval of a number of days.
The second report, dated Oct. 5, constructed on the primary however was shorter and extra analytical.
The Oct. 5 report appeared in a day by day C.I.A. abstract of intelligence that’s distributed extensively to policymakers and lawmakers, the officers mentioned. However intelligence officers didn’t temporary both of the stories to President Biden or senior White Home officers. Nor did the C.I.A. spotlight the stories to White Home policymakers as being of explicit significance, officers mentioned.
A number of U.S. officers, who spoke on the situation of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, described the stories as routine, and just like different intelligence stories about the potential of Palestinian violence that have been written all year long.
One U.S. official conversant in the Sept. 28 report mentioned it had language that warned of a attainable escalation by Hamas by way of better cross-border hearth in opposition to Israel from Gaza.
C.I.A. analysts recurrently write stories on violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants within the West Financial institution, which has escalated sharply in current months. On the day the Oct. 5 report was disseminated, Hamas mentioned two of its members within the West Financial institution have been killed in a firefight with Israeli forces.
However the C.I.A. has lately put extra deal with the chance of violence within the Gaza Strip, as evidenced by the current company stories, which described how dismal financial circumstances in Gaza, the place Hamas holds sway. In addition they mentioned the group’s rising frustration about Israel’s longstanding blockade of the territory might result in a resumption of border assaults.
C.I.A. and White Home officers mentioned they might not touch upon categorised paperwork.
Whereas the stories warned of potential rocket hearth, they didn’t say that Hamas meant to make use of new ways in opposition to Israel, resembling a floor incursion.
It’s unclear why Israeli intelligence businesses and their American counterparts didn’t detect preparations by Hamas for the Oct. 7 assault. Israeli intelligence businesses share a number of intelligence from the Palestinian areas with their American counterparts.
The assault started with a big barrage of rockets. Hamas then launched the most important and deadliest incursion into Israel in a long time, which left about 1,200 Israelis lifeless. Hamas gunmen are additionally holding about 150 hostages.
The failure to detect Hamas’s preparations has raised questions on whether or not the intelligence businesses misjudged the group’s capabilities and intentions, or had diverted assets to monitoring different threats. Hamas can also have discovered methods to stop intelligence businesses from eavesdropping on their communications.
The stories have been based mostly on intelligence that the C.I.A. collected itself or obtained from associate companies, the officers mentioned, although they might not talk about the character of that intelligence. They have been written amid weeks of protests by younger males in Gaza.
For a few years, U.S. intelligence businesses haven’t made Hamas or the Gaza Strip a high precedence, in comparison with different threats that they’ve tracked way more carefully, together with China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, Al Qaeda and the Islamic State.
Yearly, U.S. intelligence businesses challenge a report on main threats to international safety. The 2023 report highlighted the risk confronted by Israel from Iran, Hezbollah and “different companions and proxies,” with out naming them.
The final time Hamas was talked about within the annual report was 2017. Gaza has not been talked about since 2013.
Since William J. Burns turned director of the C.I.A. in 2021, he has warned, publicly and privately, that violence between Israelis and Palestinians might escalate, echoing feedback by different American officers who work within the area.
In remarks at Georgetown University in February, Mr. Burns recalled his position as a senior diplomat twenty years in the past through the Palestinian rebellion often called the Second Intifada.
“What we’re seeing right this moment has a really sad resemblance to a few of these realities that we noticed then too,” he mentioned.
Extra lately, Mr. Burns has warned of a threat that Israel’s adversaries might see rising divisions inside Israeli society over the insurance policies of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a chance to step up their assaults in opposition to the Jewish state.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.