The Latest Intelligence Failure. And the Next One
I'd been reading about those Hamas tunnels, and I certainly noticed that the Israelis lost plenty of their boys in the ground campaign to destroy the tunnel work, and I wondered if there had been some sort of intelligence failure. As usual in such cases, I turned to a higher authority -- or maybe it's a lower authority, since I don't know which area of the nether regions is inhabited by the spirit of my old friend, James Jesus Angleton, the late chief of CIA counterintelligence. So I set up the notoriously unreliable Ouija board, and lo and behold, there was the gravelly voice (decades of Camels will do that):
JJA: "Nice to be remembered."
ML: "Good to talk to you, as always."
JJA: "What's up? Snowden, I suppose."
ML: "Not really. I wanted to talk about the tunnels in Gaza. However it all turns out, the Israelis were pretty clearly surprised. It seems they didn't know the full details, even including Hamas's plot to send hundreds of killers into Israel via the tunnels for a mass massacre next Rosh Hashanah. They were in a terrific position to know what was going on in Gaza, but they seem to have missed a biggie. It sounds like an intelligence failure, so here I am..."
JJA: "It does, indeed. But careful with those broad brushes...everybody knew there were tunnels into Gaza from the south, against which Israel and Egypt were operating. Those tunnels were used, inter alia, to smuggle weapons from Iran and other suppliers through Sudan into Gaza. And the Israelis say they knew there were tunnels across the Israel/Gaza border as well. And they also say that they knew some of those tunnels were designed to infiltrate Hamas forces into Israel to attack and kidnap Israelis, especially if they were in uniform."
ML: "Gilad Shalit being the obvious case in point."
JJA: "But obviously they didn't know all the details. Which should not totally surprise US. It's normal, intelligence is invariably imperfect, even in this case, where the Israelis had exceptional coverage--aerial, electronic, agents on the ground etcetera, etcetera."