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.

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Documents in this Collection

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State Memo: Estimate of Soviet Intentions in the Middle East Crisis

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839447b


State Memo: Possible Pressure Points on Soviets

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839446a


State Memo: SRG Meeting on International Petroleum Situation

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839448e


State Memo: Syrian Military Intentions

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839447d


State Memo: Talking Points for Your Briefing of the Leadership

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d83944aa


Student Paper: Cultural Bias in Intelligence Failure: The 1973 Arab-Israeli War

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394496


Student Paper: Excessive Reliance on Deterrence Theory: the American Intelligence Failure to Anticipate the Yom Kippur War in 1973

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394499


Student Paper: Henry Kissinger, Bureaucratic Politics, and the 1973 War

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839449b


Student Paper: The Yom Kippur War: A Case of Deception and Misperception

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d8394470


The Intelligence Community Post-Mortem Program, 1973-1975

Document Number: 51112a4a993247d4d839446b