Despite initial concerns that Iran may have been directly involved in the brutal and deadly attack carried out by Hamas against Israel last weekend, U.S. intelligence has suggested that senior officials in Iran were actually surprised when the terrorist attack happened.
CBS News issued a report recently that cited multiple U.S. officials who were familiar with the situation, all of whom said that preliminary information gathered shows that Iran wasn’t directly involved with Hamas’ attack.
The investigation is still ongoing, of course, with analyses being done and information being continually collected. Officials who have been briefed on intelligence information gathered thus far, though, say that the key officials in Iran who would typically be aware of any operations in that region were unaware that Hamas was going to carry out the attacks.
The officials CBS News spoke with wouldn’t elaborate any further on what the intelligence information contained, including which Iranian officials it was referring to.
On Wednesday, multiple lawmakers in Washington were briefed on a classified basis about the overall situation unfolding in Israel, as well as Iran’s possible involvement in it.
Morgan Muir, a senior intelligence official in the U.S., also held a small briefing on Tuesday.
Publicly, the Biden administration has said that they haven’t uncovered any evidence yet that links Iran directly to the Hamas attacks, which resulted in more than 1,200 people being killed, thousands being injured and hundreds being taken hostage.
That being said, it’s long been known that Iran has provided Hamas with other support – from logistics to finances to materials.
On Tuesday, Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, told reporters:
“[W]e have said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas. They have provided training. They have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years.”
At a separate briefing held Tuesday, a spokesman for the State Department, Matthew Miller, said:
“We’ll be looking at additional intelligence in the coming weeks and days to inform our thinking on this issue, including whether at least there were some in the Iranian system who either had a clear sense of what was coming or even contributed to aspects of the planning.”
Anthony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State, traveled to Israel this week to reaffirm America’s commitment to and support for Israel. While there, he also extended his trip and will meet with officials in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and Jordan between October 11 and October 15, according to the State Department.
As the department said in a release:
“The Secretary will reiterate his condemnation of the terrorist attacks in Israel in the strongest terms. The Secretary will also reaffirm the United States’ solidarity with the government and people of Israel.
“The Secretary will engage regional partners on efforts to help prevent the conflict from spreading, secure the immediate and safe release of hostages, and identify mechanisms for the protection of civilians.”