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  • 🇺🇸 Who's Responsible?

🇺🇸 Who's Responsible?

Plus, emergency pizza for all!

The Flag

Good morning, and happy Monday. A library in New York got quite the surprise in late September when it received a book return that was nearly nine decades overdue.

Plus, Domino’s has announced its “Emergency Pizza Program,” which will send you a free, medium two-topping pizza no matter what your emergency is.

Also, with the rise of AI, it feels like we’re already living in the future. But what will the human-tech relationship look like 10 years from now? Today’s sponsor might just have the answer…


Right: Dems' Next Great Texas Hope Is Big Fan of Racial Division Miranda Devine, New York Post

Right: In the Future, Everyone Will Be Speaker for 15 Minutes David Dayen, The American Prospect

Right: You're Very Stupid If You Think Trump Is Pro-Hezbollah Jordan Boyd, The Federalist


Gaza Deteriorating, Louisiana Flipped, Egypt May Open

World: Middle East on ‘verge of the abyss,’ UN warns as Gaza suffers and Israel prepares for offensive (CNN)

US: Republicans flip Democrat-held Louisiana governor seat in first major contest ahead of 2024 elections (FOX News)

US: Threats in U.S. rising after Hamas attack on Israel, says FBI Director Christopher Wray (CBS News)

World: Chuck Schumer says the delegation he’s leading was rushed to a shelter amid rocket fire in Israel (NBC News)

World: US says Egypt border crossing to Gaza to reopen (Reuters)

World: Opposition wins Polish election, according to exit poll (POLITICO)


AI’s Impact 10 Years From Now

Last quarter, roughly 40% of companies in the S&P 500 mentioned AI or related terms in their earnings calls. Wall Street and Silicon Valley are buzzing with ideas about which names could be next when it comes to benefiting from the new technology.

But what will the human-tech relationship be like 10 years from now? That’s what one novelist is exploring in her latest book, Loneliness & Company. Take a step back from the spreadsheets and dive into a captivating story focused on a main character who is tasked with gathering enough research to train an AI how to be a friend.

Don’t wait: Now available for pre-order, click here to get your copy.


Who’s Responsible?

The respective seals of the major Israeli intelligence agencies (left to right): Aman, Mossad, Shin Bet (or Shabak).

Following the brutal attack on Israel, a great deal of focus is being placed on who bears responsibility for not having anticipated the attack. Due to the unprecedented nature of the assault carried out by Hamas, many have called the incident a significant intelligence failure.

Reporting from the Left: Israel had intel on Hamas activity but didn't put the Gaza border on high alert (Axios)

Reporting from the Right: Egypt warned Israel of attack, House Foreign Affairs chairman claims (Fox News)

From The Flag: The apparent negligence is particularly notable given Israeli intelligence agencies’ vaunted reputations. Additionally, the Israeli government and its leadership, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have not been immune to criticism. Some are also blaming American intelligence for the oversight.

As we continue to cover this incident, we are committed to sharing a range of perspectives objectively. In doing so, we are reemphasizing and encouraging our audience to take what’s being shared with a grain of salt. Given the polarizing nature of the conflict and its early stage, there’s a large amount of speculative discourse that shouldn’t be accepted as fact immediately. With that said, here’s what both sides are saying.


Mixed: It’s Too Early To Say Vs. This IS an Intelligence Failure

  • Hamas’s attacks are being compared to 9/11, and some are also calling it an intelligence failure similar to September 11th; however, there’s a distinction.

  • “Israel’s advanced surveillance of Palestinians makes scenes of Hamas gunmen moving through its streets all the more astounding”

  • “Israelis knew the malevolent hatred that animated Hamas and its backers in Iran. What they didn’t appreciate was the creativity and competence of their adversaries.”

The 9/11 attack wasn’t an intelligence failure. The Hamas attack may be Peter Bergen, CNN: “In the spring and summer of 2001, the CIA provided a slew of warnings that al-Qaeda was planning something big. Intelligence distributed to officials in the George W. Bush administration included warnings… The most well-known of these warnings was titled, “Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in United States.” The Bush administration didn’t do much of anything in the summer of 2001 in response to those warnings. Certainly, the Hamas attacks in Israel were a surprise, just as 9/11 was, but it is premature to label it an intelligence failure. We don’t know yet what Israel’s intelligence agencies such as Shin Bet were saying about Hamas to Israeli policymakers… Blaming a lack of intelligence for policy failures is an easy dodge for government officials because, typically, the spy agencies can’t publicly defend themselves on the facts, which are often classified, and, in any event, they work for the policymakers.”

Hamas’s murderous attack will be remembered as Israeli intelligence failure for the ages Peter Beaumont, The Guardian: “Military analysts have already been quick to suggest that Hamas is likely to have employed significant deception as well as the shock of attacks from multiple domains – including rocket and infiltration – to create maximum chaos. What is clear is that at several points in the buildup, potential preparations were missed: planning, stockpiling, but most crucially, in the immediate run-up to the Hamas offensive when its fighters were mustering and approaching border areas overseen by regular patrols, cameras, ground motion sensors and remote-controlled mini-cannon in places which in the past have proved effective against attempts to storm the border fence. All of which suggests an operation which – like previous Hamas surprise infiltration attacks including those involving tunnels into Israel – required a huge amount of preparation. Perhaps significant is the fact – as Israeli media has pointed out – that incidents involving Hamas in recent months were not identified by the Israeli defense forces and intelligence agencies as part of a buildup to war.”

One more opinion piece from the Left: Hamas attack is an intelligence failure that may take Israel years to unravel David Ignatius, The Washington Post


Failure of the Israeli Government, America, and The West

  • Netanyahu’s own policy positions enabled this to happen and he was distracted by unrelated attempts to enact unpopular judicial reform.

  • America and the West are complicit in this failure as well, and they have enabled or turned a blind eye to Hamas’s violent potential.

  • “Imagine if all those counterterror resources were redirected away from targeting Americans for their political views and aimed at stopping real terrorists.”

Israelis are furious at Benjamin Netanyahu Limor Simony Philpott, The Spectator: “How did Israeli security forces – among the most sophisticated in the world – not foresee Hamas’s attack? A postmortem is already underway, but what is clear is that Netanyahu’s government was caught napping, distracted by its attempts to force through unpopular judicial reforms. This stole attention away from the worsening security situation in Gaza, the West Bank, and the border with Lebanon. Now, Israelis have paid a heavy price. Netanyahu has, in his many years as prime minister, opted for a policy of containment of Hamas. But while his robust rhetoric has fostered his image as a ‘security first’ leader, his actions have actually strengthened Hamas’s position and undermined the more moderate Palestinian Authority. This outcome was no accident: it was a policy meant to sabotage chances of a peace settlement with the Palestinians, which would have been wildly unpopular with Bibi’s supporters. It will become clearer later whether Israeli intelligence missed vital information, or knew and its warnings were ignored by the government.

Hamas's latest attacks on Israel are due to a disastrous failure of American and Israeli intelligence Dominic Green, Washington Examiner: “This war is also a failure of American intelligence. The Hamas attack was a large and complex operation. Ali Baraka, a senior Hamas official, said it took two years of planning. U.S. intelligence agencies also seem to have missed the signs or failed to understand what they meant. … The idea was that Hamas and its Gazan supporters could be weaned off genocide by welfare payments and work permits. The reality is that the aid, though earmarked for civilian use, is diverted to war and preparations for war with the Jews. Hamas has boasted openly about this for years, just as it has boasted of its alliance with Iran, and Iran has boasted of its intention to destroy Israel. Western governments have pretended not to notice any of this; they, too, are caught in their concepts. The Europeans, in particular, fear that mass immigration is importing the communal conflicts of the Middle East.”

One more opinion piece from the Right: Imagine If Our Intel Agencies Targeted More Actual Terrorists Instead Of Conservative Americans Elle Purnell, The Federalist


Israelis Overwhelmingly Disappointed With Government

A poll conducted in the aftermath of the attacks by the Dialog Center found the following sentiments among Israelis (Jerusalem Post):

  • 94% of respondents believe the government must bear at least some responsibility for the lack of security preparedness.

  • 75% say the government holds most of the responsibility.

  • 86% say the surprise attack from Gaza is a failure of the country’s leadership.

  • 56% believe Prime Minister Netanyahu must resign immediately after the war.


Feel Less Alone, In the Loop, Answer the Call

When it comes to reading, we know you have great taste. I mean, you’re reading The Flag this morning, so that goes without saying. And if you already trust our comprehensive coverage, trust us when we say you’ll love the upcoming novel Loneliness & Company. Classified government missions, AI friendships, and words to “make us feel less alone.” What’s not to love? Read more or pre-order here.

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Disney Begins, Late Night Snacking, Killer Snails

On This Day in 1923: Walt Disney and his brother Roy founded the Disney Brothers Cartoon Studio in Hollywood, California. The studio, now known as the Walt Disney Company, has had an oversized impact on the entertainment industry and is now one of the largest media companies in the world.

Today I learned that freshwater snails carry a parasitic disease, which infects nearly 250 million people and causes over 200,000 deaths a year. The parasites exit the snails into waters, they seek you, penetrate right through your skin, migrate through your body, end up in your blood, and remain there for years.

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