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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SNIE 35/36-73 Arab-Israeli Hostilities and their Implications

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394471


Soviet General Purpose Naval Force Deployment Levels in the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean, 1968-1973

Document Number: 51112a4b993247d4d839455e


Special Meeting of the Watch Committee

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394494


State Cable to Amb. Helms from Henry A. Kissinger

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d83944a9


State Cable to Dr. Henry A. Kissinger from Amb. Helms

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839446f


State Cable to Henry A. Kissinger from Amb. Helms

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d83944a7


State Cable: Egyptian Plea for U.S. Mediation

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394477


State Cable: Persian Gulf

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839447c


State Guidance to All Posts on Middle East Situation

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839448f


State Memo: Actions in the Event of an Arab Oil Embargo Against the United States, Western Europe and Japan

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d83944a4