The U.S. has intelligence indicating senior Iranian officials were surprised by the, according to multiple American officials familiar with the matter, preliminarily suggesting Tehran was not directly involved the launch of the deadly Oct. 7 assault.
While analysis and collection are continuing and additional information may arise to contradict the initial assessments, officials briefed on the intelligence say key Iranian officials who would normally be aware of operations in the region appeared to be unaware the attacks were taking place.
Officials declined to elaborate on the identities of the Iranian officials or on the nature of the intelligence that had been collected. U.S. lawmakers were briefed in a classified setting by multiple agencies on the situation in Israel and Iran’s potential involvement on Wednesday morning. Senior U.S. intelligence official Morgan Muir also briefed a smaller group Tuesday. The New York Times first reported that the U.S. has intelligence that the assault by Hamas took senior Iranian officials by surprise.
Administration officials have said since the attacks began that Iran has long supported Hamas with material, financial and logistical support, but that to date no evidence had been unearthed to link the attacks, which killed more than 1,200 Israelis and wounded thousands more, to Tehran.
“[W]e have said since the beginning that Iran is complicit in this attack in a broad sense because they have provided the lion’s share of the funding for the military wing of Hamas, they have provided training, they have provided capabilities, they have provided support, and they have had engagement and contact with Hamas over years and years,” national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters on Tuesday.
“We’ll be looking at additional intelligence in the coming weeks and days to inform our thinking on this issue, including whether at least there were some in the Iranian system who either had a clear sense of what was coming or even contributed to aspects of the planning,” said Matthew Miller, the State Department spokesman, in a Tuesday press briefing.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Israel on Wednesday for meetings with senior Israeli officials and as a show of solidarity and support.
The department confirmed Wednesday that the number of American citizens killed in Israel had, and the whereabouts of 17 citizens remain unknown. Some of those individuals, officials said, may have been taken hostage by Hamas.