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December 08, 1989 - Image 38

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

H D7 _,S3V IT

CAPITOL REPORT

Misreading Intelligence
Caused '73 War Woes

WOLF BLITZER

Washington Correspondent

oseph Sisco was assis-
tant secretary of state
for Near Eastern and
South Asian affairs during
the days leading up to the
surprise Egyptian-Syrian at-
tack on Israel on Yom
Kippur 1973. As the State
Department's ranking Mid-
dle East specialist, he was
one of Secretary of State
Henry Kissinger's most
trusted aides.
George Carver was the
Central Intelligence Agen-
cy's deputy for national in-
telligence during that same
period. A career intelligence
official, he worked very
closely with then-CIA Direc-
tor William Colby.
In separate interviews,
both Sisco and Carver
disclosed that Israel's intel-
ligence failure in not an-
ticipating the surprise at-
tack has had a lasting im-
pact on the U.S.-Israel intel-
ligence relationship.
"The lesson we drew from
it was that we could not rely
exclusively on Israeli intel-
ligence and that our own in-
dependent means had to be
improved," Sisco said.
"One thing you do learn
when you're in government
is that you can never be ab-
solutely certain that you
have the total picture," said
Sisco, now a successful in-
ternational business consul-
tant.
In the days before the war,
Sisco met in New York with
Israel Foreign Minister
Abba Eban, who was not
alarmed by suspicious Egyp-
tian troop movements along
the Suez Canal. Both the
U.S. and Israeli intelligence
communities had picked up
those movements.
Still, Sisco recalled, Kiss-
inger was concerned enough
about the reports of Egyp-
tian troop activity to call the
CIA and to ask for an in-
dependent assessment. "We
never got anything to the
contrary [from the CIA],"
Sisco said.
The lingering question in
Sisco's mind has always
revolved around this CIA
reply. "Was the CIA relying
on any independent means
of its own or was it relying
primarily on Israeli intel-
ligence? My own judgment is
that we were relying pretty
much exclusively on Israeli
intelligence."
U.S. confidence in the
Israeli intelligence com-

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e. 4

A Holiday Message

Once again, I'd like to take
the opportunity to thank you for
another very good year here at
Ohrenstein Jewelers. It is a
pleasure to be in one of the few
businesses that deals mostly in
happy occasions, such as birth-
days, engagements and other
gift-giving holidays. We are
delighted to be a part of the
festive times of your life.
We would also like to wish
you and yours the very best for a
joyous Holiday Season and a
healthy, Happy New Year.

,

Sincerely,

George Ohrenstein

George Ohrenstein Jewelers Harvard Row Mall Southfield 353-3146

38

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1989

.

munity in the aftermath of
the 1967 Six-Day War vic-
tory was then very high. In
addition, Sisco said, the CIA
liaison to Israel, James
Jesus Angleton, was known
to be extremely well plugged
into the Mossad, the major
external intelligence
organization in Israel.
Thus, as far as Sisco is con-
cerned, "the diplomatic
side" of the U.S. government
was relying primarily on
Israel. "We never felt that

Joseph Sisco:
Never certain.

our intelligence was better
than Israel's in this regard,"
he said.
But - even as the war
erupted, Sisco, Kissinger
and other senior U.S. offi-
cials remained convinced
that Israel could handle the
crisis easily.
"Whatever it was, we
thought it could be very eas-
ily contained by the Israelis.
And certainly, there was no
indication that this was an
all-out war on the part of
Egypt and Syria," Sisco said.
Sisco and Kissinger
therefore were truly shocked
when they began to learn of
the initial Israeli military
setbacks.'
The biggest surprise was
when Israel's ambassador to
the United States, Simcha
Dinitz, came to the State
Department after the second
day of the war to plead for
more U.S. arms. Dinitz was
in "absolute panic," Sisco
said, recalling that the
Israeli envoy had expressed
fear that the Egyptians and
Syrians were on the verge of
a military breakthrough.
It was only then that the
Americans began to appre-
ciate the enormity of the
crisis.
Carver, who today is af-
filiated with the Center for
Strategic and International
Studies, a Washington think

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