‘No indicators’ Israel shared Hamas war plans with U.S.

Last updated on December 1, 2023

There are no indications Israel shared secret Hamas war plans laying out a detailed blueprint for the Oct. 7 attacks with the U.S. intelligence community, according to three U.S. officials

The New York Times reported on Thursday that Israeli officials obtained Hamas’ battle plan for the Oct. 7 attacks, codenamed “Jericho Wall,” more than a year before it occurred, but dismissed it as beyond the militant group’s capabilities.

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. But Israel ignored warning signs as recent as July, including a daylong Hamas training exercise that mirrored the war plan, according to the report.

Though the U.S. and Israel have a close intelligence relationship, Israel does not appear to have shared the secret battle plans with U.S. intelligence officials, according to the current and former officials, who were granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic.

“There are no indicators at this time that the IC was provided the purported ‘Jericho Wall’ document reported last night by the New York Times,” said one U.S. official, cautioning that “The IC will certainly continue to review its information.”

A U.S. lawmaker and a former U.S. official also confirmed that Israeli officials did not provide the plans to the U.S. intelligence community.

“It’s very problematic” that Israel didn’t share the document, the former official said.

National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said he could not confirm the Times report, and referred to Israel for comment. A spokesperson for the Israeli Defense Forces did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesperson for the CIA declined to comment.

But top Biden administration officials have previously said explicitly that the U.S. had no knowledge that Hamas was planning an attack of this scale.

“If we had those indications, we would share them with Israel,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters in Brussels in October. “But to my knowledge, we did not see that.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to reporters on Friday, said the Biden administration is focused on ensuring Hamas cannot repeat the attacks.

“There is going to be plenty of opportunity for a full accounting of what happened on Oct. 7, including looking back to see what happened, who knew what when, and Israel’s been very clear about that,” Blinken said.

On Capitol Hill, members of the Senate and House intelligence committees have received several briefings about the Oct. 7 attack, according to a congressional aide familiar with the matter.

In at least one of those closed-door conversations, members were told that Israel had been aware about the potential for a Hamas attack from Gaza. But those readouts did not include the specific details of the Jericho Wall document, said the aide.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, including Democrats, have in recent weeks raised questions about the extent to which the Biden administration relies on Israel for intelligence about Hamas.

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 following Israel’s failure to detect and stop the attack in real-time, some members of Congress and officials inside the administration have questioned whether Washington should continue to depend so heavily on Israel for intelligence related to the terrorist group.

Alexander Ward contributed to this report.