President Nixon and the Role of Intelligence in the 1973 Arab-Israeli War

This collection highlights the causes and consequences of US Intelligence Community’s (IC) failure to foresee the October 1973 Arab-Israeli War, also known as the October War or the Yom Kippur War. A coalition of Arab nations led by Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack on Israel on October 6, the day of Yom Kippur. Prior to October 6, the CIA concluded that the Arabs would not attack, so the offensive surprised US policymakers as well as Israel. Directorate of Intelligence (DI) analysts believed that Arab military inferiority would militate against an attack on Israel. DI analysis did not explore the possibility that leaders might go to war--even at the risk of losing--to pursue political objectives. According to an internal postmortem, Agency analysis was impaired by preconceptions about Arab military capabilities, information overload, rational actor modeling and groupthink.

View the OPA Press Release and Collection Booklet


Documents in this Collection

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DI Memo: De Facto Middle East Cease-Fire Lines and Alleged Violations

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394569


DI Memo: Demographic Aspects of the Arab-Israeli Dispute

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394559


DI Memo: Facts and Soviet Economic Aid to Egypt

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394565


DI Memo: Financial Aid to Egypt and Syria

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d839455c


DI Memo: Grechkos Role in Middle East Crisis

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394501


DI Memo: Israel: Economic Impact of the War

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394538


DI Memo: Israeli Thinking on a Peace Settlement with the Arabs

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394547


DI Memo: Middle East War Fuels Sino-Soviet Polemics

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d839451f


DI Memo: Moscow and the Middle East

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d8394549


DI Memo: New Policy Directions in Egypt

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d83944fc