Israeli military intelligence is facing criticism for failing to comprehend the network of tunnels and other underground facilities built by Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip.
Dan Pollak, co-director of government relations for the Zionist Organization of America, said early estimates of Israel’s operation to root out Hamas rockets has diminished the terrorist group’s arsenal. Hamas’ 10,000-rocket arsenal is now believed to be half that number.
“We’ll see when the war was over,” Mr. Pollak said in an interview, “but it is clear that the underground tunnel complex was far more extensive than Israeli military intelligence understood.”
Information that Israel Defense Forces reportedly obtained from captured Hamas fighters revealed that the group was planning to use several Gaza tunnels that extend under Israeli territory for a major attack timed with the beginning of the Jewish new year, Rosh Hashanah, on Sept. 24.
The plan called for Hamas fighters to surface from the tunnels in Israel and kill as many people as possible. The plot was first reported by the Israeli newspaper Maariv.
Israel’s military operation against Hamas in Gaza has gone on longer than expected because of the discovery of the extensive tunnel network, which is estimated to have cost as much as $2 billion to construct.
Many of Hamas’ longer-range rockets have been destroyed, although the Israeli military is looking for other tunnels in Gaza where rockets could be kept.
‘THE NEXT 9/11’ COULD BE A CYBERATTACK
Army Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, last week called the threat of cyberattacks against U.S. infrastructure a major strategic vulnerability.
“Eighty percent of the affected areas in our country are what we would call a critical infrastructure, and they’re in the private world,” Gen. Flynn said during a security conference. “They’re not really in the government world. So most of our vulnerabilities are not on the government side, where we do a lot of things to protect ourselves. It’s out there in the private world.”
Cyberattacks are key strategic threats as states such as China and Russia have been detected mapping U.S. electrical grids and financial networks — two of the most critical elements of infrastructure.
Speaking Saturday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, Gen. Flynn said U.S. efforts to counter cyberattacks against infrastructure are at the “infant stage.”
“One of these days, we’ll be really good at this,” he said. “We are very good. We are the best at it. But we are still growing and learning, and we’re growing capacity in this country.”
Pentagon cyberdefense and cyberwarfare capabilities are growing but not fast enough, Gen. Flynn said. “And I think all of our leaders in the Department of Defense would absolutely agree with me.”
Additionally, greater government and private-sector cooperation is needed to identify vulnerabilities to cyberattacks.