U.S. Shifted Intelligence Focus Away from Hamas After 9/11, Raising Questions on National Security

World | November 1, 2023, Wednesday // 15:04
Bulgaria: U.S. Shifted Intelligence Focus Away from Hamas After 9/11, Raising Questions on National Security @Wikimedia Commons

In the years following the devastating terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, U.S. intelligence redirected its attention away from monitoring Hamas and other Palestinian militants. Instead, it channeled its resources into pursuing the leaders of al-Qaeda and ISIS. This significant shift in focus, reported by the "Wall Street Journal" and confirmed by American officials knowledgeable about the Middle East situation, has raised concerns about misjudgments regarding national security.

American sources cited by the newspaper highlight that Hamas has not posed a direct threat to the United States. U.S. officials were confident that Israeli security services could effectively detect and address any potential threats. However, the recent tragic incident, resulting in the deaths of more than 30 American citizens with another 10 missing, has prompted some to question whether U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the threat to national security.

Retired CIA officer Mark Polimeropoulos emphasized, "If we're discussing intelligence errors, which are essentially the responsibility of Israel, we must also acknowledge some shared responsibility for not anticipating this event (the attack on Israel)."

Shortly before the Hamas attack, Jake Sullivan, national security adviser to President Joe Biden, expressed his view that the Middle East was not prepared for another conflict. In an article for Foreign Affairs magazine, he stated, "The situation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict remains tense, especially in the West Bank, but despite significant disagreements, we managed to reduce the scope of the conflict in Gaza and reestablish direct diplomacy between the nations after years of absence." However, the online version of his article was later edited.

According to sources close to the matter, U.S. intelligence resources have been increasingly directed toward China and away from the Middle East in recent years. One former counterterrorism official admitted, "The reality is that we lack the resources to gather information globally," stressing that the U.S. must accept "limited risks" by relying on its partners.

However, not all experts agree with the criticism. Some argue that U.S. intelligence services had been adequately preparing for years to confront the challenges posed by Hamas.

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Tags: U.S., Hamas, intelligence, Israel

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