While Hamas Planned Its Attack on Israel, Biden’s Intel Community Was Focused On Climate Change

Biden admin focus on climate change under renewed scrutiny after US failed to detect Hamas attack

DNI Avril Haines (Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images)
November 14, 2023

While the Hamas terror group was working with Iran to launch its Oct. 7 attack on Israel, the Biden administration’s intelligence community was ramping up efforts to combat climate change, raising questions about America’s failure to detect the terror attack.

As the Israel-Gaza conflict enters its second month, congressional leaders are beginning to examine whether the Biden administration’s intelligence shift—which included adding a climate scientist to his Intelligence Advisory Board, a task force that tracks national security issues, and executive orders that required the intelligence community to assess security threats posed by climate change—may have contributed to America’s failure to spot Hamas’s planning beforehand. Hamas had been planning the attack for over a year, according to reports.

"The world faces unprecedented threats from Communist China, the Iran regime, and Russia yet the Biden administration is shifting intelligence and defense assets to focus on climate change," Rep. Mike Waltz (R., Fla.), a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told the Washington Free Beacon. "Just this past March, Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines testified before Congress that climate was an intelligence priority. The blatant political posturing on climate change within our intelligence community endangers the U.S. and our allies by sidelining other threats."

In January, President Joe Biden signaled his administration’s shift to climate change when he appointed the first-ever climate scientist to his Intelligence Advisory Board, a decades-old task force that tracks national security issues across the globe. Brown University professor Kim Cobb, an "expert on climate extremes and coastal flooding," was tasked with reviewing "the work of U.S. spy agencies to make sure they are considering threats from all angles," as well as policing the board "to make sure that the intelligence offered to the president is taking into account climate-related security issues," the Washington Post reported.

Biden followed this with several executive orders that reportedly "required the intelligence community to assess the national security threats posed by climate change." Biden’s focus on climate change also extended to the American military, with the Pentagon classifying these issues in 2021 as "a critical national security issue."

The American intelligence community’s pivot to climate issues is under renewed scrutiny from Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress in the wake of Hamas’s slaughter of more than 1,200 Israelis—an attack that has raised many questions about how the United States failed to spot Hamas’s military buildup in advance. White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said during an Oct. 11 press briefing that the attack was "a massive intelligence failure."

The Biden administration’s focus on climate change was on full display during Haines’s testimony earlier this year in front of Congress.

"Climate change remains an urgent threat that will increasingly exacerbate risks to U.S. national security as the physical impacts increase and geopolitical tensions mount over the global response to the challenge," Haines said.

The State Department, America’s diplomatic face across the world, followed the intelligence community’s lead when it appointed John Kerry as its first special presidential envoy for climate, a position that has enabled the former secretary of state to cut deals with China on issues like carbon emissions.

The administration’s focus on what Republicans view as far-left priorities may have diverted America’s intelligence capabilities, leading to what even the White House admits was a significant intelligence failure on Oct. 7, according to one congressman.

"Joe Biden is pushing to publicly release the Pentagon’s carbon emissions, needlessly gifting our adversaries valuable intelligence on U.S. military strength. At the same time, he’s telling American intelligence officials to focus on phantom weather risks instead of the growing and all-too-real threats of Iranian-backed terror and Communist China," Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, told the Free Beacon.

"The administration’s obsession with putting leftist politics before our national security has had disastrous effects on morale, public trust, recruiting, overall readiness, and even intelligence collection," Banks said. "Our adversaries are laughing at us."

The politicization of America’s intelligence bodies was also spotlighted during a recent conversation between Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) and Rick Grenell, the former acting director of national intelligence during the Trump administration.

"How on Earth did we get to a point where we missed the boat?" Cruz asked Grenell during an episode of his podcast, referring to the United States’ failure to detect Hamas’s months of planning.

"I actually don't believe that we didn't know that Iran and Hamas were planning, there's just no possible way that we didn't have pieces of raw intelligence," Grenell told Cruz. "I think one of the crises that we have within the intelligence world right now is we have too many people playing politics that are analyzing the information."

With Hamas, those analyzing the raw intelligence failed to connect the dots, Grenell said.

"I actually believe that the United States and the Israelis, of course, had the raw intelligence, that the analytical people just didn't put it together," he said. "They didn't want to assume that Hamas was going to make such a jump."