Obama critical of US intelligence agencies' failure to forecast Middle-East crisis

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Washington, Feb 5(ANI): United States President Barack Obama has reportedly criticized his country's intelligence agencies over their performance in predicting and analyzing the recent unrest in the Middle-East.

According to current and former American officials, Obama was specifically critical of the agencies for misjudging how quickly the unrest in Tunisia would lead to the downfall of the country's government, and how rapidly the unrest had spread to Egypt.

The intelligence assessments last month had concluded that despite demonstrations in Tunisia, President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's security forces would defend his government.

Instead, the military and the police did not, and Ben Ali and his family fled to Saudi Arabia.

A former official also said that in recent weeks the President has urged intelligence officials to ensure that spy agencies were devoting as much effort to "long-term analysis" as they were to carrying out operations against Al-Qaeda, the New York Times reports.

The officials, however, stressed that despite the question marks over the recent performances, Obama has not ordered any major changes inside the intelligence community, which has a budget of over 80 billion dollars a year.

Earlier, on Friday, a White House spokesman had said that spy agencies had given Obama "relevant, timely and accurate analysis" throughout the crisis in the Middle East. (ANI)

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