Thursday, July 25, 2024
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Endangering Israel’s Security – and Our Own



While Israel works to fend off terrorists, the Biden administration is withholding both intelligence and military aid – placing a key ally in jeopardy and putting America’s own national security at risk.

The administration is refusing to share valuable information regarding Hamas with Israeli intelligence until Israel halts its Rafah offensive – a decision that follows close on the heels of the administration’s announcement that it would halt weapon shipments to Israel. Yet these appalling decisions are only the most recent in a long string of poor policy choices.

So how did all this start?

Prior to the Oct. 7 attacks, the Biden administration lacked any sort of realistic perception of the situation in the Middle East. Mere days before the attacks, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters, “The [Middle East] region is quieter than it has been for decades.”

This misperception led the Biden administration to divert critical assets away from terrorist groups like Hamas – ultimately leading to the failure to anticipate or disrupt the events of Oct. 7. In November, senior administration officials admitted that, following 9/11, U.S. intelligence agencies almost completely stopped spying on Hamas and other violent Palestinian groups, believing that Hamas constituted no direct threat to the U.S.

Indeed, Washington deprioritized the Middle East as a whole. After the Biden administration’s takeover, the Central Intelligence Agency decided to reduce the number of civilian intelligence analysts tasked with monitoring the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In the aftermath of Oct. 7, more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials, lawmakers, and congressional aides testified that this deprioritization of the Middle East had left the U.S. vulnerable and unable to anticipate the attacks.

The Biden administration also spent significant resources in a misguided attempt to appease Iran – a policy that directly led to the Hamas attacks and regional escalation. Less than a month before the Oct. 7 attacks, the Biden administration announced it would issue a waiver giving Iran access to $6 billion that had been previously blocked by U.S. sanctions.

By unfreezing Iranian assets, the administration presented the world’s largest state sponsor of terror with unprecedented resources, allowing it to direct, fund, arm, and train Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, and the myriads of other terror groups currently attacking U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. This both enabled Oct. 7 and allowed for increased attacks from groups like the Houthis, an Iranian-armed terrorist group that has been disrupting shipping in the Red Sea, causing shipping delays and increased costs to ordinary consumers.

The Biden administration also provided U.S. adversaries with valuable resources in the form of international aid. For example, the administration reversed Trump’s funding cuts and restored more than $200M in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), an organization with direct ties to Hamas – as demonstrated by the alleged involvement of 12 UNRWA employees in the Oct. 7 attacks and kidnappings.

President Biden’s approach to national security poses a stark contrast to that of President Trump. Biden reversed nearly all of Trump’s foreign policies, opting to alienate Israel and appease Iran – a policy that has endangered both the U.S. and its allies.

Absent aggressive congressional oversight to assess the Biden administration’s intelligence priorities – and to investigate its handling of the Israel-Palestine conflict, including the recent decision to withhold information and weapons from Israel – the situation will only get worse. Failure to accept responsibility for the national security malpractice – as demonstrated in Afghanistan, Ukraine, and now the Israel-Palestine conflict – will create present and serious consequences for Americans.

Under the Biden administration, rising foreign instability and conflict escalation have become routine. America needs to change course immediately and return to policies that foster peace and stability – both abroad and at home.


John Ratcliffe, a former Director of National Intelligence, is a Visiting Fellow in the Davis Institute for National Security and Foreign Policy at The Heritage Foundation.

This article was originally published by RealClearDefense and made available via RealClearWire.