Washington — House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Turner said Sunday that the U.S. is assisting Israel in helping find Hamas leadership and identifying its blind spots that could have possibly prevented the.
"I think what you saw was just a general dismissal by Israel and Israel's intelligence community of the possibility of this level of a threat, which really goes to the complete breakdown that occurred here," the Ohio Republican told "Face the Nation."
An Israeli soldier, who is part of a unit that surveils Gaza, told CBS News last week that her team repeatedly reported unusual activity to superiors beginning six months before the terrorist attack. She said those reports were not taken seriously.
"They didn't take anything seriously," she said. "They always thought that Hamas is less powerful than what they actually are."
The New York Times reported that Israel obtained Hamas' attack plan more than a year before it was carried out, but Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed it as aspirational. Three months before the attack, another intelligence unit raised concerns that were dismissed, according to the report.
Turner said U.S. intelligence is now "working closely" with Israeli intelligence "to see the gaps that they have."
"This obviously could have been an institutional bias that resulted in dismissing it, but the other aspect that made this so dangerous, is that even when October 7 began to unfold, their forces didn't react. They didn't have the deployment ability to respond, not just the intelligence ability to prevent it," Turner said.
The U.S. is also assisting Israel to locate Hamas leadership, he said, noting that CIA director William Burns recently returned from the Middle East. As part of that trip, Burns tried "to make certain that our intelligence apparatus is working closely with Israel to try to fill some of those gaps that they clearly have."
But Turner said the U.S. is "being selective as to the information that's being provided" to Israel.
"It's one thing to be able to look to try to identify a specific individual and provide information as to their location and operations and actually directing an operation," he said. "Director Burns has been very clear that we are not just providing direct access to our intelligence and that certainly gives us the ability to have caution."
Turner also said there are concerns that Israel "is not doing enough to protect civilians" as it targets Hamas.
National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the U.S. is working with Israel "to get them to be as careful and as precise and as deliberate in their targeting as possible" as the number of civilians killed rises.
"The right number of civilian casualties is zero," Kirby said. "And clearly many thousands have been killed, and many more thousands have been wounded and now more than a million are internally displaced. We're aware of that and we know that all that is a tragedy."
The Gaza Ministry of Health says more than 15,000 people have been killed since Oct. 7. Kirby said the U.S. does not have a specific number of deaths.
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