Pentagon continues to probe ISIS reports after US intel analysts “revolt”

ISIS - JFThe United States Department of Defense is still probing claims that some of its officials doctored intelligence reports to give a falsely optimistic account of the campaign against the Islamic State. IntelNews has followed this story since late August, after initial reports surfaced in The New York Times. The reports suggested that at least one analyst in the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Pentagon’s primary human-intelligence agency, had complained that reports about ISIS were being deliberately tweaked by officials at the US Central Command (CENTCOM), the Pentagon body that directs and coordinates American military operations in Egypt, the Middle East and Central Asia. Some of the reports related to al-Qaeda activity in Iraq and Syria, but most were about the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), the militant Sunni organization that controls large swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria.

According to The Daily Beast, more than 50 intelligence analysts from the DIA have now come forward to complain to the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General that their reports on the Islamic State were altered by CENTCOM officials, in order to give a falsely positive projection of US policy in relation to the organization. The website said that some of the analysts have been complaining for months about what they describe as the deliberate politicization of their reports by CENTCOM. But their complaints are now part of an official investigation into the matter by the Inspector General. The latter is required to produce a report with the intelligence oversight committees of the US Congress.

The Daily Beast said that its reporting was based on nearly a dozen individuals who were “knowledgeable about the details of the report”. But it said that it would not name its sources due to the sensitivity of the case. It did, however, quote one source, who described case as “a revolt” by intelligence analysts. Another source described the altering of the analysts’ intelligence reports as a “cancer […] within the senior level of the intelligence command”. A source identified only as “a defense official”, told the website that the analysts’ “revolt” was prompted by the experience of the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. At that time, “poorly written intelligence reports suggesting Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, when it did not, formed the basis of the George W. Bush administration’s case for war”, said the official. And continued: the analysts “were frustrated because they didn’t do the right thing then and speak up about their doubts on Iraq’s weapons program”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 11 September 2015 | Permalink

2 Responses to Pentagon continues to probe ISIS reports after US intel analysts “revolt”

  1. Benjamin Briscoe says:

    Good Morning Professor Fitsanakis, another great topic in dire need of coverage- as I’ve come to expect from IntelNews. I did want to notify you of one small error: CENTCOM isn’t a coordinating body for the entire U.S. military, just for those forces operating in the geographic theater from which it takes its name (Middle East and parts of Asia minor and Asia proper)- often considered ‘in the center’ between European, African, and Asian jurisdictions. This would mean that manipulation by ‘senior CENTCOM officials’ would be being carried out by officials directly responsible for U.S. operations and forces in the Middle East and specifically in the ISIS/L area of operations. This presents the possibility that the motive could have been political as presented, or less political and more concerned with making these same report-doctoring officials look more effective in their current positions.

  2. intelNews says:

    @Benjamin Briscoe: Thanks for informing us of the error about CENTCOM. It has been corrected above and in an earlier article on the same subject. [JF]

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