US Expanded Intelligence Sharing With Israel To ‘Unprecedented’ Levels After Hamas Attack

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Micaela Burrow Investigative Reporter, Defense
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The U.S. established an “unprecedented” intelligence sharing with Israel in a previously undisclosed memorandum shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks took place, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar.

The memorandum was amended a few days later and issued in concert with expanded U.S. intelligence collection on Gaza, where Israel has since carried out expansive aerial bombardments and ground operations aimed at destroying Hamas, the WSJ reported. However, the arrangement lacks mechanisms for independent confirmation the intelligence flowing from ramped-up U.S. collection activities in Israel and Gaza are not facilitating unnecessary civilian casualties and damage to infrastructure in Gaza, sparking concerns within the administration and in Congress.

“We are experiencing unprecedented levels of intelligence coordination,” Israeli military spokesman Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Tuesday. (RELATED: Biden Has Changed His Tune On Gaza ‘Ceasefire’ As Activist Pressure Mounts — And Election Draws Near)

Israeli officials did not detail specifics about the arrangement, the outlet said.

U.S. support primarily consists of locating top Hamas leaders and hostages, as well as keeping an eye on Israel’s borders, people familiar said, according to the WSJ. Information specific to ground operations or airstrikes is not generally shared, they added.

“Our intelligence sharing is focused on hostage-recovery efforts and preventing future incursions into Israel. That includes monitoring mobilization or movement near the border,” an administration official told the WSJ.

Initially, the U.S. intelligence community specified boundaries for intelligence sharing, although the final judgement on whether those boundaries are violated is up to the White House, people familiar with the process said, according to the WSJ. U.S. agencies assess trends and collect evidence of potential violations of the laws of armed conflict into a biweekly report titled “Gaza Crisis Potential Wrongful Acts Summary,” the people said.

Israel is responsible for certifying its own adherence to the U.S. guidelines and often does so verbally, the WSJ reported. The U.S. also lacks insight into how the information is melded with Israel’s own collection capabilities.

Democratic politicians and some non-governmental organizations are questioning the robustness of U.S. insight into what Israel is doing with the information provided via American assets.

“What I’m concerned about is making sure our intelligence sharing is consistent with our values and our national-security interests,” Democratic Colorado Rep. Jason Crow, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, told the WSJ.

Crow wrote Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines in December asking for more details about the arrangement, according to the WSJ. He also said he met with a senior Israeli military official and members of the U.S. intelligence community, saying he heard “some pretty big inconsistencies” between civilian casualty figures presented.

Israel, for its part, says the Hamas-run Palestinian health ministry’s estimate of 32,000 residents of Gaza who have died since October is roughly correct but asserts that about one-third those casualties are militants, according to the WSJ.

Military operations have turned large swaths of Gaza to rubble, the WSJ reported. Israel says the destruction is necessary to rout Hamas, which established its military infrastructure in or near civilian edifices to complicate Israeli targeting operations.

The Office of the DNI did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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