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Rebelling U.S. Intelligence Analysts Say: ‘This is Just [Obama’s] Perpetual War!’

Sept. 24, 2015 (EIRNS)—The intelligence analyst who is leading what some might now consider a revolt in the intelligence section at the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), now has a name. According to a story in the New York Times yesterday, he is Gregory Hooker, the senior Iraqi analyst at CENTCOM, who has been on the job since 1996. Hooker, the Times reports, is the leader of a group of analysts that is accusing senior commanders of changing intelligence reports to paint an overly optimistic portrait of the U.S. bombing campaign against the Islamic State.

"This core group of Iraq analysts have been doing this for a long time," Stephen Robb, a retired Marine colonel and a former head of the CENTCOM Joint Intelligence Center, told the Times. "If they say there’s smoke, start looking for a firehouse."

Hooker has blown the whistle before. In 2005, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy published a 132-page report, authored by Hooker, in which he argued that planning for the Iraq invasion of 2003 was hobbled by tensions between Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and military planners over the staying power of Saddam Hussein’s regime, by leaks of highly classified war plans, and by little attention to the war’s aftermath.

According to the Times report, analysts at CENTCOM say that the dispute over assessments of the current military campaign in Iraq center on whether the military is being honest about the political and religious situation in Iraq, and whether a bombing campaign can change it.

"What are the strategic objectives here? There are none. This is just perpetual war," said David Faulkner, the former targeting director at CENTCOM who worked alongside the Iraq analysts. "People say: ‘Oh, you’re military. You like that.’ No, we don’t."

The Times further reports that anger among the analysts grew so intense that Hooker’s boss, William Rizzio, confronted his superiors—Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, chief of intelligence for CENTCOM, and Gregory Ryckman, Grove’s deputy—over the problem. While it’s not clear what transpired in the meeting, Rizzio was temporarily "re-assigned," and analysts were left wondering what happened to him after his name was scraped off the front of his office at CENTCOM’S Joint Intelligence Center.