Last week, the Daily Beast reported, fifty CENTCOM intelligence analysts filed a formal complaint with the inspector general after they felt like their reports were being altered by senior officials in order to downplay the strength and capabilities of ISIS and al Qaeda. The article alleges, that the senior officials, to include the director of intelligence and his deputy in CENTCOM, are changing their reports to fit the narrative of the Obama administration.
Two of the officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said that analysts began airing their complaints in October in an effort to address the issue internally and only went to the inspector general when that effort failed. Some of those who complained were urged to retire, one official familiar with the report told The Daily Beast.”
The task force, composed of members of the House Armed Services, Intelligence committees, and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee have found some of the allegations to be true and are set to release a report later this week after conducting a five month investigation. The 10-page-report was released at the end of last week.
Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee released their own findings on Thursday that agreed with some of the conclusions of the Republican task force.
“Between 2014 and 2015, CENTCOM created an overly insular process for producing intelligence assessments on ISIL and Iraqi Security Forces,” Representative Adam B. Schiff, the committee’s top Democrat, said in a statement. This process, Mr. Schiff said, “stalled the release of intelligence products,” hurt morale among analysts and “insufficiently accommodated dissenting views.”
But Mr. Schiff and the Democrats said they found no evidence that the White House tried to pressure Centcom analysts to fit their conclusions to a “preset or political narrative.” –New York Times
As a former intelligence officer, it was our job to provide our leadership with unbiased and accurate information so they could make the best decisions possible. We make subjective assessments of the situation based on the area of operations and known threats. We utilized information collected by all disciplines of intelligence (HUMINT, OSINT, MASINT, IMINT, etc.) to make these subjective reports. Usually, something will not make our assessment unless it has been verified by multiple credible sources. If the information is altered or changed somewhere in the chain, decisions will be based on false information and could have grave consequences. The analysts involved in the complaint felt this way as well and did not want a repeat of the false WMD intelligence used prior to the Iraq war. The report should be interesting since the analysts claim they were intimidated and forced to work in a hostile environment during the investigation.
Editorial cartoon courtesy of Robert L. Lang
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