We in the Arabic Section of the US National Security Agency (NSA), where I worked at the time, knew days in advance and with certainty that Syria and Egypt were about to launch a coordinated attack against Israel on October 6, 1973.
Yet, on the eve of the 1973 Yom Kippur Surprise, Israel’s Prime Minister, Chief of Staff, and Defense Minister were all given absolute assurances that the Arabs had no intention of attacking Israel on or before Yom Kippur, October 6. The assurances were given by Israel’s Head of Military Intelligence, General Eli Zeira. In spite of his very own Army Intelligence indications, General Zeira was thoroughly convinced the Arabs had no intention of attacking because of unnamed friends’ assurances.
Who were these “friends” that Zeira relied on with unflinching trust and confidence? This troubling question could be answered by one man and only one man, General Eli Zeira.
I met with the General at his home on July 4. A man of almost 90 years of age, he listened intently to my story. He then drew a sketch on a sheet of paper and labeled a box at the top. This box represented the US generals with whom Zeira was in direct contact.They were fed intelligence synopses from NSA.
Finally I asked the question that had been troubling me for 44 years. Were “the friends” he so completely relied upon those American generals?
Zeira kept his lips sealed tight. He closed his eyes. He slowly and deliberately nodded his head in the affirmative. But Zeira assured me these US generals were completely trustworthy.
How was it that we at NSA’s Arabic Section knew, but even those trustworthy US generals didn’t know? It was clear to General Zeira that the correct intelligence that we had in the Arabic Section was already manipulated before it ever reached these US generals. One would assume that President Nixon himself was also given the adulterated intelligence. How was it that NSA had even reported to the 1974 US Congressional Commission of Inquiry that NSA did not know? Yet we in the Arabic Section knew, and knew it for a certainty.
I could see that Zeira was troubled by this inexplicable.
I shared with the General that while I was at The Agency, I discovered that there were rooms there that I couldn’t enter in spite of my well-above Top Secret clearances. I learned that they were off limits to me because I am a Jew. Since these Jew-free areas’ existence was secret, especially to Jews, it was pure happenstance that I discovered them. In The Secret War Against the Jews, authors Loftus and Aarons talk about the “Jew Room” at NSA. They say it’s a total misnomer since it is not just one singular room and anti-Israel and anti-Jewish activities occur within them. I suggested to Zeira that the manipulation happened in this Jew Room.
Zeira seemed troubled by this revelation and was curious to learn more. He understood that his American counterparts, themselves thinking the misinformation they passed him was correct and certain, naively passed him their assurances. They, themselves, were duped and not to be faulted.
By the same measure, Ziera cannot be totally faulted.
In spite of the Israeli Government Agranot Commission of Inquiry’s conclusions and public perception putting the blame on Zeira’s shoulders, the blame belongs to NSA’s Jew Room.
Bruce Brill was an NSA Mideast Intelligence Analyst. His writings have been published in The Jerusalem Post, The Christian Science Monitor, Midstream Magazine, The Washington Times The Jerusalem Report, and others.