House GOP and Democrats found that CENTCOM manipulated intel on the US fight against ISIS, contradicting internal analysis, in reports released this week.
By Julia Arciga, @JuliaArciga
A Republican House of Representatives task force has concluded that US Central Command (CENTCOM) intelligence on the Islamic State had been manipulated to portray American progress against ISIS in a more positive light, in a report released earlier this week,
This investigation comes as a senior analyst whistleblower, backed by over 50 intel analysts within CENTCOM, claimed that intel had been distorted by the upper echelons and superiors within CENTCOM.
Contradictions between public announcements from CENTCOM and the organization's internal assessments started in mid-2014 - around the time that ISIS forces took Mosul, Tikrit, and Baiji from Iraqi forces according to a New York Times timeline.
“There was a consistent trend that across four specific campaigns against [ISIS] in Iraq throughout 2014 and 2015, assessments approved by the J2 [CENTCOM’s Joint Intelligence Center] or leadership were consistently more positive than those presented by the [intelligence community],” the report stated.
The report also outlined that in June 2014, CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate made process changes that gave senior officials more control over the analysts’ final products, including a daily intelligence summary in order to “improve them, due to their high visibility and senior customers.”
While the direct complaint from the whistleblower and 50 analysts remains under current investigation from the Defense Department Inspector General, the House of Representatives report has also been supported by House Democrats who have come to similar conclusions in their separate investigation.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said CENTCOM “insufficiently accommodated dissenting views,” in a statement.
The report has found evidence that CENTCOM seniors have manipulated intel, but the trail stops there, with nothing found that would suggest the White House was involved or had ordered these changes within CENTCOM.