A pair of categorised C.I.A. intelligence studies issued within the days forward of a serious Hamas assault on Israel warned a few potential escalation in violence however didn’t predict the advanced, multipronged assault that Hamas gunmen launched towards Israel days later, based on U.S. officers.
The primary of the intelligence studies, dated Sept. 28, described the likelihood 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 every day C.I.A. abstract of intelligence that’s distributed broadly to policymakers and lawmakers, the officers mentioned. However intelligence officers didn’t temporary both of the studies to President Biden or senior White Home officers. Nor did the C.I.A. spotlight the studies 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 studies as routine, and much like different intelligence studies about the opportunity of Palestinian violence that have been written all year long.
One U.S. official aware of the Sept. 28 report mentioned it had language that warned of a doable escalation by Hamas by better cross-border fireplace towards Israel from Gaza.
C.I.A. analysts repeatedly write studies on violence between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants within the West Financial institution, which has escalated sharply in latest 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 just lately put extra deal with the chance of violence within the Gaza Strip, as evidenced by the latest company studies, which described how dismal financial situations in Gaza, the place Hamas holds sway. Additionally 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’d not touch upon categorised paperwork.
Whereas the studies warned of potential rocket fireplace, they didn’t say that Hamas meant to make use of new techniques towards 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 numerous intelligence from the Palestinian areas with their American counterparts.
The assault started with a big barrage of rockets. Hamas then launched the biggest and deadliest incursion into Israel in many years, 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 may additionally have discovered methods to forestall intelligence businesses from eavesdropping on their communications.
The studies have been based mostly on intelligence that the C.I.A. collected itself or obtained from companion providers, the officers mentioned, although they’d 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 situation a report on main threats to international safety. The 2023 report highlighted the menace 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 function as a senior diplomat 20 years in the past throughout the Palestinian rebellion often known as the Second Intifada.
“What we’re seeing at this time has a really sad resemblance to a few of these realities that we noticed then too,” he mentioned.
Eric Schmitt contributed reporting.