The U.S. intelligence community was not aware of Hamas’ plan to attack Israel, National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said Sunday, after the New York Times reported last week that Israeli officials obtained the plans more than a year before the Oct. 7 attack occurred.
“The intelligence community has indicated that they did not have access to this document,” Kirby told NBC’s Kristen Welker on “Meet the Press.” POLITICO reported Friday that there was no indication Israel had shared the blueprint for the attack with the United States.
Officials told the Times that if the Israeli military had taken the roughly 40-page document more seriously, they could have prevented the attacks, which killed more than 1,200 Israelis and led Israel to launch a devastating invasion of Gaza that has reportedly killed more than 15,000. But according to the report, Israel’s leadership disregarded the warning signs, viewing the attack as something beyond Hamas’ capabilities.
“Intelligence is a mosaic and sometimes you fashion things together and get a pretty good picture, and other times there’s pieces of the puzzle that are missing,” Kirby added, when asked if the U.S. should’ve been made aware of the attack plans.
The U.S. has long held an intelligence-sharing relationship with Mossad, which has previously established a robust data-collection operation on Hamas in Gaza. But the failure to provide details of the plan has led some lawmakers in Congress to question U.S. reliance on Israel for intelligence on Hamas.
On Sunday, Kirby declined to say whether the Oct. 7 attack represented a failure by Israel’s intelligence operations, saying there would be a “a time and place” for Israel to further investigate what went wrong.
“Prime Minister Netanyahu has already spoken pretty candidly about this calling it a failure on their part. They’ll take a look at this at the right time, they need to do that,” Kirby said, but for now “the focus has got to be on making sure that they can eliminate the truly genocidal threat” or Hamas.