Did Israel “let it happen on purpose”? From a Sept. 18 Haaretz account of Israeli intelligence “failures” in the recent Lebanon war:
MI knew about Hezbollah kidnap plans
Military Intelligence had clear information about an impending kidnap attempt by Hezbollah shortly before the Lebanese group carried out its cross-border raid on July 12, according to an internal inquiry conducted by the Israel Defense Forces.
The information – which could, if properly handled, have prevented the kidnapping of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser – was not analyzed and passed on to the troops in time, the report indicated.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office refused to either confirm or deny the report, saying that the issue is still being investigated by Military Intelligence (MI) and the Northern Command.
The inquiry into intelligence questions is being conducted by Brigadier General Avi Ashkenazi, appointed by out-going GOC Northern Command Udi Adam. Even though his investigation is not yet completed, he is slated to present his report to Chief of Staff Dan Halutz and other senior IDF officers this week.
The report will apparently focus solely on the events of July 12, and will not deal with previous, similar kidnapping incidents that were foiled.
If intelligence information was indeed mishandled, this would hardly be the first time such an event has ever occurred. Army sources cited the case of the glider-borne assault on northern Israel in 1987 when, due to an error by MI’s signals intelligence unit – which misreported a key word as sayara (car in Arabic) rather than tayara (plane) – troops prepared for an attack by ground-based rather than aerial vehicles.
Similarly, America’s National Security Agency taped crucial conversations by Al-Qaida members on September 10, 2001, but the conversations were only translated on September 12 – a day after Al-Qaida destroyed the World Trade Center towers in New York.
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