National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the intelligence community was not aware of a document detailing militant group Hamas’ plans to attack Israel that The New York Times reported on last week.
“The intelligence community has indicated that they did not have access to this document that there’s no indications at this time if they had any access to this document beforehand,” Kirby said when NBC’s Kristen Welker asked him about The Times’ report on “Meet the Press.”
The New York Times reported last week that Israel was aware of Hamas’ plan to launch an attack on its soil more than a year before the Oct. 7 attack that left more than 1,200 Israelis dead. The Times’ article outlined a 40-page report named “Jericho Wall” that described what kind of incursion Hamas’ was planning into Israel and what kind of destruction it could cause.
However, The Times reported that Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the report, saying that the plan was “aspirational.” The Times cited multiple interviews, documents and emails to back its reporting.
Kirby dodged answering whether the U.S. should have had access to the document when pressed further by Welker, who pointed to the coordination between the two countries’ intelligence agencies.
“Intelligence is a mosaic and sometimes you know, you can fashion things together and get a pretty good picture,” he said. “Other times, you know, there’s pieces of the puzzle that are missing. As I said, our own intelligence community said that they’ve looked at this. They have no indications at this time that that they had any advanced warning of this document or any knowledge of it.”
The plan reported by The Times included Hamas saying they would bombard Israel with rockets and use drones to disable security abilities near the border. The Times also noted that a 2016 memo by Hamas and obtained by the newspaper said the militants wanted to take hostages into Gaza.
The attack on Oct. 7 echoed the details laid out in the plan, with more than 1,200 Israelis killed and another 240 people captured by the militants and taken into Gaza. Both Israeli and U.S. officials have previously said that they will look into what intelligence may have been missed leading up to the attacks after the conflict is resolved.
“I think there’s going to be a time and a place for Israel to do that sort of forensic work,” Kirby said on Sunday. “I mean, Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has already spoken pretty candidly about this and calling it you know, a failure on their part.”
“They’ll take a look at this at the right time. They need to do that right now though, the focus has got to be on making sure that they can eliminate this truly genocidal threat to the Israeli people,” Kirby continued.
The Associated Press contributed.
Updated at 10:52 a.m.