Article contributed by: Michael Scott Hollash
CENTCOM, short for U.S. Central Command, is in charge of the U.S.-led war against the Islamic State. A whistleblower, a senior analyst at CENTCOM, stated that intel had been manipulated.
More than 50 analysts with CENTCOM have come forward and exposed that there were several process changes made on their intelligence assessment reports for 2014 and 2015. They have filed a formal complaint alleging that their intelligence reports on ISIS were manipulated.
The whistleblower’s allegation states that senior officers were distorting intelligence assessments to make it look as if Obama is winning the war against ISIS, instead of the real realities on the ground originally stated in the reports. It has been determined that numerous process changes implemented, as well as leadership deficiencies at CENTCOM, have resulted in widespread dissatisfaction among analysts who felt that their superiors were distorting their reports.
There are ongoing investigations into the intelligence scandal. The inspector general for the Pentagon, as well as other inspectors within the intelligence community, and two congressional oversight panels are investigating.
Top House Republicans convened the House Joint Task Force (JTF) in response to the whistleblower’s allegation. The task force released the initial report of their investigation Thursday. They state persistent problems in both 2014 and 2015 with CENTCOM analysis of U.S. efforts combating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
The House Joint Task Force was established by the Chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense.
The task force is led by GOP Reps. Mike Pompeo of Kansas, Ken Calvert of California, and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio. Commenting on the initial investigation report, Rep. Calvert stated that the leadership failures at CENTCOM reach to the very top, and what has happened is unacceptable.
Rep. Mike Pompeo said Thursday the data was clearly manipulated. “They wanted to tell a story that ISIS was the JV, that we had Al Qaeda on the run,” he told Fox News. “This is incredibly dangerous. We haven’t seen this kind of manipulation of intelligence … in an awfully long time.”
Rep. Pompeo added that from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, CENTCOM’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence reports to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq. The complaint is also under active investigation by the Defense Department inspector general.
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