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COMMENTARY OF THE DAY
By
Robert Namer
Voice Of America
©2024 All rights reserved
May 28, 2024

      U.S. intelligence agencies virtually disregarded Hamas and other Palestinian terror groups in the years following the 9-11 attacks, The Wall Street Journal reported.  Hamas was a quiet despot.

     Instead, the focus was on leaders of al-Qaida and the Islamic State, according to U.S. officials.  Mainstream media reports in the past several weeks have asked how Israeli and U.S. intelligence failed to discover what Hamas had planned for Oct. 7, when the group’s terrorists attacked Israel.

     More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and more than 200 others were taken to Gaza as hostages. AP reported that the death toll among Palestinians has exceeded 8,800, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. Current and former U.S. officials said intelligence agencies had a handful of analysts tracking events in the Gaza Strip before the attacks, but the U.S. ceded the responsibility for monitoring Hamas to Israel, the Journal reported.


     "In terms of intelligence failures, which really do lie mostly on Israel, I think we should also share some blame for missing this event," Marc Polymeropoulos, a retired CIA operations officer with extensive counterterrorism experience, told the Journal. "Ceding the target to the Israelis now looks to have had consequences." Israel's intelligence services have relied on human intelligence, eavesdropping, and other technical means throughout the West Bank and Gaza.

     "It is almost inconceivable how they missed this," Polymeropoulos told NBC News.  Soon after the Hamas attack on Israel, The Washington Post's David Ignatius wrote an opinion column under the headline, "Hamas attack is an intelligence failure that may take Israel years to unravel."  "True intelligence failures result not simply from a lack of information but also an inability to understand it," Ignatius wrote. "Israelis knew the malevolent hatred that animated Hamas and its backers in Iran. What they didn’t appreciate was the creativity and competence of their adversaries. This was a level of organized malice that was, literally, unthinkable."

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