Niger Ambush the Result of ‘Massive Intelligence Failure’

US Troops Engaged in 'Routine' Patrol, Pentagon Says

As new information emerges on the October 4 ambush in Niger, which left four US troops killed, sources familiar with the situation say they believe it was the result of a “massive intelligence failure.”

Pentagon officials now say that the patrol had become “routine,” having been carried out nearly 30 times in the same area, making it very predictable, dangerously so considering the US troops were in unarmored trucks.

The ambushing militants appear to have drawn the troops into an ambush, as officials say they were chasing suspects on motorcycles at the time the ambush began. The troops had no aerial surveillance, nor any support forces in case the situation turned bad.

Indeed, officials warn the situation could’ve been a lot worse if the French military didn’t happen to be in the area to bail them out, and the entire contingent of US and Nigerien troops could’ve been wiped out completely.

The Pentagon is downplaying the reports of intelligence failure, or any failure, insisting that the investigation is still ongoing and they don’t want to draw any conclusions before it is completed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.