A scathing government task force report released on Thursday, shows that intelligence generated by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was deliberately skewed.
Last year a senior analyst came forward noting that classified intelligence was being withheld. The whistleblower’s complaint is what led to the initial investigation by the Defense Department inspector general.
However, in September of last year, The Free Thought Project reported on how more than 50 U.S. military intelligence analysts operating out of CENTCOM staged what was called a ‘revolt’ by intelligence professionals. The revolt came after announcing that their intelligence reports were being altered and manipulated to fit the public narrative that the U.S. is winning the battle against ISIS.
“The facts on the ground didn’t match what the intelligence was saying out of the United States Central Command,” said Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the task force.
The task force confirmed that both classified and public information was being manipulated by high-level officials.
As CBS News reports, the task force also found that CENTCOM’s public statements were far more positive than events on the ground warranted — such as in March 2015 when CENTCOM Commander Gen. Lloyd Austin testified to Congress.
“The fact is that he [ISIS] can no longer do what he did at the outset, which is to seize and hold new territory. He has assumed a defensive crouch in Iraq,” Gen. Austin said.
However, during those very statements, ISIS was preparing to overrun the Iraqi city of Ramadi.
According to the unclassified report, much of what was presented to the public was false:
Based on its own investigation, the Joint Task Force has substantiated that structural and management changes made at the CENTCOM Intelligence Directorate starting in mid-2014 resulted in the production and dissemination of intelligence products that were inconsistent with the judgments of many senior, career analysts at CENTCOM. These products were consistently more optimistic regarding the conduct of U.S. military action than that of the senior analysts. Based on specific case studies evaluated by the Joint Task Force, during the time period evaluated by the Joint Task Force, CENTCOM produced intelligence that was also significantly more optimistic than that of other parts of the Intelligence Community (IC) and typically more optimistic than actual events warranted. Additionally, many CENTCOM press releases, public statements, and congressional testimonies were also significantly more positive than actual events.
While the Obama administration is attempting to maintain that they knew nothing about this intelligence manipulation, the nature of this report and the high-level officials involved, implies otherwise.
“The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official told The Daily Beast in September.
“There’s enormous evidence about how this information from talented career professionals inside the analytic arm at CENTCOM did their job and accurately depicted what was going on on the ground, but when it got to very senior levels, that information was changed,” Pompeo said.
Only months after Obama made his statements about ISIS being “JV,” he was forced to acknowledge that the terrorist group was overrunning parts of Iraq. Then, by the following August, he announced US-led coaltion airstrikes in the region to combat extremists. After that, 5,000 troops were deployed. All of this — just as Americans were being told everything is “A-Okay.”
When the government is caught outright lying to the public to manipulate their feelings toward war, this should raise serious red flags. The citizens of the United States have already been duped when intelligence was skewed about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That little white lie convinced Americans to support an illegal war, which, in turn, led to a deadly quagmire in the Middle East that laid waste to over a million innocent lives.