Centcom Senior Leaders ‘Cooked the Books’ on ISIS
Aug. 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—Complaints of senior intelligence analysts that their analyses of ISIS in Iraq in 2014 and 2015 were rewritten by higher level commanders in US Central Command have merit, concludes a report released yesterday by a House Republican joint task force that has been looking into the matter. The complaints first surfaced publicly a year ago, when it become known that senior intelligence analysts, including some with 20 or more years experience on Iraq, alleged that their analyses were altered to make the war against ISIS look like it was going better than it really was. The allegations were serious enough that the Department of Defense Inspector General opened an investigation, which is still ongoing.
The Congressional task force, led by chairmen of the House Armed Services and Intelligence Committees and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, reports that, based on its own inquiry,
"Centcom produced intelligence that was significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted."
"many Centcom press releases, public statements and congressional testimonies were also significantly more positive than actual events."
The task force attributes many of the problems to leadership changes that took place in Centcom after Gen. James Mattis was replaced as Centcom commander by Gen. Lloyd Austin in 2013. Survey results showed that dozens of analysts
"viewed the subsequent leadership environment as toxic, with 40 percent of analysts responding that they had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year."
The report does not attempt to attribute responsibility for the suppression of intelligence analyses up the chain of command, not even to Austin, much less the White House, though it reports that testimony that Austin delivered to Congressional committees during the time period at issue reflected the rosier-than-reality assessments. Centcom intelligence officials also briefed the Office of National Intelligence, including its director, James Clapper, several times a week, and, according to the report, those assessments were then passed on to the White House.