On October 8th, the day after the Hamas attack, I penned an article calling bullshit on the “intelligence failure” narrative that emerged immediately in the aftermath — how could the governing authorities and media call it confidently an “intelligence failure” mere hours after the event? — just as the same narrative emerged just following the 9/11 attacks in Manhattan and DC.
Although I always take the time to carefully weigh evidence before making any definitive statements, as responsible journalists do, I didn’t feel compelled to wait or hedge in this case because it was palpably clear from the start that the narrative was total propaganda and would subsequently be debunked in the coming days and weeks.
Even based on the limited evidence available on October 8th, basic logic defied the “intelligence failure” story:
· Gaza is among the, if not the, most heavily surveilled strips of land on Earth, both from the air (satellite and drone surveillance) and via Mossad spooks on the ground (what the so-called “intelligence community” calls “human intelligence” or “humint” because it loves insular jargon)
· Gaza is among the most densely populated strips of land on Earth
· The Israeli government controls all of Gaza’s borders in a total siege-style blockade. Nothing goes in or out without the state’s blessing
· The October 8 operation involved tens of thousands of operatives and a bevy of equipment that would be virtually impossible to move into and around Gaza without detection
· Hamas clearly had international financial and logistical support, which could not have flowed into the strip without detection
· Months, if not years of planning went into the operation, including erecting a mock Israeli town inside of Gaza to use for practice. Israeli intelligence literally watched these training sessions from outposts on the border.
· Hamas, sponsored by Iran, had enormous geopolitical incentive to attack when it did, as Israel was on the verge of signing normalization agreements with the Sunni Muslim world that would have threatened Iranian interests, which Israel well understood
· Netanyahu’s historically controversial and unpopular government was barely clinging to power at the time of the attack, the target of unprecedentedly intense and large protests. Bibi himself was on the verge of imprisonment on corruption charges. An excuse to wage what could be framed as an “existential” war and remain in power indefinitely — which has since transpired — was seemingly the only way to remain for Netanyahu and his hardline allies to remain in office and out of prison. This objective necessarily would have required ignoring actionable intelligence.
… And this is by no means an exhaustive list of the reasons that point to the impossibility of Israeli intelligence ignorance of the impending attack and the incentives that all parties involved had to let October 7 play out the way it did.
It subsequently came out that the substantially less powerful Egyptian intelligence, which does not operate in sovereign Israeli territory of the Gaza Strip as Mossad does, knew of the attack beforehand and warned their Israeli counterparts, which went unheeded.
And now we have further vindication.
Via The New York Times:
“Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out.
The approximately 40-page document, which the Israeli authorities code-named “Jericho Wall,” outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.
The translated document, which was reviewed by The New York Times, did not set a date for the attack, but described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters.
Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on motorcycles and on foot — all of which happened on Oct. 7.
The plan also included details about the location and size of Israeli military forces, communication hubs and other sensitive information, raising questions about how Hamas gathered its intelligence and whether there were leaks inside the Israeli security establishment.
The document circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, but experts determined that an attack of that scale and ambition was beyond Hamas’s capabilities, according to documents and officials.”
Ben Bartee, author of Broken English Teacher: Notes From Exile, is an independent Bangkok-based American journalist with opposable thumbs.
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