U.S. intelligence agencies warned President Obama and the White House last year that instability in Egypt could threaten the rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a CIA official said.
Testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Stephanie O'Sullivan, the CIA's associate deputy director, was asked about briefings and warnings provided to the White House about Egypt.
"We have warned of instability," O'Sullivan told the committee. "We didn't know what the triggering mechanism would be for that. And that happened at the end of the last year."A U.S. official familiar with the intelligence said, "Analysts anticipated and highlighted the concern that unrest in Tunisia might spread well before demonstrations erupted in Cairo. They later warned that unrest in Egypt would likely gain momentum and could threaten the regime."
At the beginning of O 'Sullivan's confirmation hearing, intelligence committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., expressed her concern over the quality of information that was provided to top U.S. policy makers.
"The president, the secretary of state and the Congress are making policy decisions on Egypt, and those policymakers deserve timely intelligence analysis," Feinstein said. "I have doubts whether the intelligence community lived up to its obligations in this area."