Intelligence Analysts Blow Whistle on Altered ISIS Assessments - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Intelligence Analysts Blow Whistle on Altered ISIS Assessments

Ever wonder why the Administration insisted that ISIS was nothing more than a “JV” team, even though they were running roughsod over most of the Middle East, hacking Christians to death by the thousands and destroying World Heritage sites with impunity? 

According to about fifty US intelligence experts working at US Central Command, much of the intelligence on ISIS in Syria and elsewhere was altered by senior intelligence officials to match the Obama Administration’s underwhelming threat assessments. Even though much of the intelligence pointed to a very sophisticated, very aggressive ISIS force, these individuals believe that many reports were deemed “overly negative” because they didn’t fit with administration’s rosier public view of things. 

More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials, The Daily Beast has learned.

The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the alleged manipulation of intelligence. The fact that so many people complained suggests there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how the U.S. military command charged with the war against the self-proclaimed Islamic State assesses intelligence.

“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

Two senior analysts at CENTCOM signed a written complaint sent to the Defense Department inspector general in July alleging that the reports, some of which were briefed to President Obama, portrayed the terror groups as weaker than the analysts believe they are. The reports were changed by CENTCOM higher-ups to adhere to the administration’s public line that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS and al Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria, the analysts claim…The accusations suggest that a large number of people tracking the inner workings of the terror groups think that their reports are being manipulated to fit a public narrative. The allegations echoed charges that political appointees and senior officials cherry-picked intelligence about Iraq’s supposed weapons program in 2002 and 2003.

The analysts feared that their intelligence reports were specifically being manipulated to show that ISIS was weaker than they knew it to be, and more specifically, to show that US airstrikes, which they seemed to think were having little impact on the revolutionary force, were weakening ISIS across the map. They claim that the reports were being regularly altered before being given to senior officials outside of the Defense department, sometimes even to the point that their conclusions were dramatically altered.

Although this particular spate of cherry-picking is unlikely to get much play in the media, we aren’t totally divorced from the Iraq war lead-up, which many claim was rife with similar cherry-picking. It’s not outside the realm of possibility, of course, then, that an administration would seek to conform intelligence to it’s core strategy, though it is strange that someone so critical of such an endeavor as Barack Obama, would openly embrace the same tactic. 

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