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Old 09-19-2016, 06:08 PM
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Angry CENTCOM Accused Of Manipulating Intel On ISIS

CENTCOM Accused Of Manipulating Intel On ISIS


http://www.cbsnews.com/news/centcom-...ht-syria-iraq/

According to a hard-hitting government task force report released Thursday, intelligence generated by the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) was manipulated to paint a rosier picture of the U.S. effort to combat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

The report finds that, beginning in mid-2014, final intelligence reports issued by CENTCOM contradicted the initial internal assessments made by its own analysts, reports CBS News correspondent Jim Axelrod.

"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 military CENTCOM is responsible for American security interests in 20 nations, stretching from Egypt through the Arabian Gulf region and into central Asia.

The task force stemmed from a whistleblower complaint from a senior analyst at CENTCOM alleging that intel had been manipulated. The complaint is under active investigation by the Defense Department inspector general.

"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.

But it wasn't just classified intelligence. 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.

While the report found intelligence was in fact manipulated by CENTCOM, the task force found no evidence that orders for those changes came from the White House.

"House Report on CENTCOM Intelligence"

Read the 17 page Report Here> https://www.scribd.com/document/3209...nce#from_embed



http://www.cbsnews.com/news/centcom-...ht-syria-iraq/
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Last edited by Paparock; 09-19-2016 at 06:26 PM..
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:30 PM
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Exclamation Military Officials Distorted ISIS Intelligence, Congressional Panel Says

Military Officials Distorted ISIS Intelligence,
Congressional Panel Says
By HELENE COOPER


AUG. 11, 2016

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/us...elligence.html


WASHINGTON — Officials from the United States Central Command altered intelligence reports to portray a more optimistic picture of the war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria than events on the ground warranted, a congressional panel said in a report issued Thursday.

The interim report, from a task force established by the Republican chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee, Intelligence Committee and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, found “widespread dissatisfaction” among Central Command intelligence analysts, who said superiors were doctoring their assessments of American efforts to defeat the Islamic State. Central Command, known as Centcom, is the military headquarters in Tampa, Fla., that oversees American military operations across the Middle East and Central Asia.

“Intelligence products approved by senior Centcom leaders typically provided a more positive depiction of U.S. antiterrorism efforts than was warranted by facts on the ground and were consistently more positive than analysis produced by other elements of the intelligence community,” a news release about the report said.

“What happened at Centcom is unacceptable — our war fighters suffer when bad analysis is presented to senior policy makers,” said Representative Ken Calvert, Republican of California. “The leadership failures at Centcom reach to the very top of the organization.”

The 10-page report detailed persistent problems in 2014 and 2015 in Central Command’s description and analysis of American efforts to train Iraqi forces. Although it offers no definitive evidence that senior Obama administration officials ordered the reports to be doctored, it describes analysts as feeling as though they were under pressure from Centcom leaders to present a more optimistic view of the threat posed by the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL.

“Throughout the first half of 2015, many Central Command press releases, statements and congressional testimonies were significantly more positive than actual events,” the report said. “For example, a Centcom official stated publicly that a major military assault to take back Mosul could begin as early as April or May 2015.”

Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, remains under the control of the Islamic State.

“After months of investigation, this much is very clear,” Representative Mike Pompeo, Republican of Kansas, said in a statement. “From the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq.”

Republicans created the task force after learning that analysts had raised concerns that intelligence about the Islamic State was being manipulated. The report released Thursday is to be followed up by more extensive findings as the investigation continues. There is an additional, ongoing investigation of Centcom intelligence by the Department of Defense inspector general.

Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, Centcom commander at the time, at a hearing before the Senate last year, giving what many lawmakers considered an overly positive assessment of the war. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
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.”

The preliminary results of the congressional investigation were reported Tuesday by The Daily Beast. Last August, The New York Times reported the existence of the Pentagon inspector general investigation, opened after complaints by Centcom analysts.

Lt. Cmdr. Patrick Evans, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement that the Defense Department would not comment on the congressional report while the inspector general’s investigation continued. But he said that “experts sometimes disagree on the interpretation of complex data, and the intelligence community and Department of Defense welcome healthy dialogue on these vital national security topics.”

The investigation has repercussions beyond the question of whether the American-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria is succeeding (an assertion now made by a growing number of Defense officials). But last year’s allegations called into question how much President Obama could rely on Central Command for honest assessments of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other crisis spots.

The critiques on the Islamic State intelligence mirror disputes of more than a decade ago, when a Centcom intelligence analyst, Gregory Hooker, wrote a research paper saying that the administration of President George W. Bush, over many analysts’ objections, advocated a small force in Iraq and spent little time thinking about what would follow the 2003 invasion. Mr. Hooker also played a key part in the insurrection over the Islamic State intelligence.

Last year, officials said, Mr. Hooker’s team concluded that despite public statements to the contrary, airstrikes against Islamic State-held refineries had not significantly weakened the terrorist group’s finances because it had built makeshift refineries to sell oil on the black market. But the finding was not distributed outside Central Command, The Times reported in September.

Centcom’s commander then, Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III, came under criticism last year after Senate testimony viewed by many lawmakers as being an overly positive assessment of the war.

General Austin retired in April and was replaced at Central Command by Gen. Joseph L. Votel.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/12/us...elligence.html
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Old 09-19-2016, 06:33 PM
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Exclamation

Republicans and Democrats Agree: CENTCOM Cooked ISIS War Intel
Two new congressional reports conclude senior military officials skewed information about the war to make it look like it was going better. The unanswered question is why.
NANCY A. YOUSSEF
SHANE HARRIS

08.11.16
http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...war-intel.html


Senior officials at U.S. Central Command manipulated intelligence reports, press statements, and congressional testimony to present a more positive outlook on the war against the so-called Islamic State, a House Republican task force concluded in a damning report released Thursday.
The report, written by the members of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees and the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, confirmed more than a year of reporting by The Daily Beast about problems with CENTCOM analysis of the war against ISIS.
House Democrats, who conducted their own separate investigation, reached a similar conclusion as their Republican colleagues, finding that CENTCOM “insufficiently accommodated dissenting views,” Rep. Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement.

The altering of intelligence reports, which included information that made its way into briefings to President Obama, was systematic, lawmakers found.
“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 found.
The lawmakers noted, for instance, that the CIA publicly portrayed ISIS as a more resilient and powerful organization than CENTCOM’s analysis—which was not publicly shared—suggested.

The lawmakers were limited in the amount of reporting they could review, but focused their attention on the period when ISIS expanded its reach to Iraqi cities like Fallujah, Tikrit, and Irbil in the Kurdish north. They found that senior CENTCOM intelligence officials gave a “deference to operational reporting,” including reports on the number of ISIS targets that were hit in airstrikes each day. But these incremental, day-to-day reports didn’t fully capture the trajectory of the overall war effort, which analysts said was not leading towards a U.S. victory over the terrorist group.
The Daily Beast had previously reported that CENTCOM intelligence leaders demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. Reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny.
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The congressional report confirmed those earlier allegations. The result of the altered reports was “analysis that was more positive regarding the capabilities of the [Iraqi Security Forces] and the progress of the fight against [ISIS]” than analysts felt could be justified.
“According to multiple interviewees, operational reporting was used as a justification to alter or ‘soften’ an analytic product so it would cast U.S. efforts in a more positive light,” the report found.
Lawmakers pinned the blame for the doctored reports—which prompted more than 50 analysts to complain to the Defense Department inspector general—on the top two leaders in CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove, the head of the organization, and Gregory Ryckman, his civilian deputy. (Neither were mentioned by name in the report, but it makes clear that the problems coincided with their tenure and leadership.)
But for all the congressional report’s troubling findings, there is one important question that remains unanswered: Why did senior leaders alter the intelligence about ISIS? The report doesn’t answer whether Ryckman or Grove were acting on orders from higher up or suggestions of their leadership, whether changes in analysis were politically driven, or whether there was a climate that encouraged a positive assessment of the war effort.
The report doesn’t find any evidence that the White House ordered reports to be changed to present a rosier picture.
But Rep. Mike Pompeo, who was part of the task force, said the group believes that there was an unspoken understanding within the administration of how the war against jihadists was going and that drove decision makers within CENTCOM.
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“The most senior leaders in Central Command and the J2 had a deep understanding of the political narrative the administration was putting forth,” Pompeo said in an interview with The Daily Beast. “The culture was one where you were rewarded for embracing that political narrative.
“The president was out talking about the same fight, the success of defeating the jihadist threat. The messaging from the [National Security Council] and the White House was all in one direction. So there is no alternative explanation for why they would behave this way they did,” Pompeo said.
Indeed, there’s little doubt that the rise of ISIS was a political embarrassment as well as a security challenge for the White House. It came one year after President Obama’s re-election, in a campaign that celebrated the wind down of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In early 2014, Obama infamously described ISIS as the “J.V. team” among terrorist groups. U.S. troops left Iraq at the end of 2011 and, at the time, were supposed to be mostly out of Afghanistan by 2015.
“Despite nearly nine months of review, we still do not fully understand the reasons and motivations behind this practice and how often the excluded analyses were proven ultimately to be correct,” Republican Rep. Brad Wenstrup, a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve and member of the task force, said in a statement.
But Wenstrup noted the effects have been damaging regardless.
“We cannot win a war against ISIS with incomplete intelligence,” he wrote.
The Republican report attributed the problems at CENTCOM in part to a change in leadership and in the process by which intelligence reports are created. In the weeks after ISIS took control of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, in June 2014, intelligence leaders were given a more direct say in how lower-level analysts’ reports were produced and then sent along to the military brass. That irked some analysts who, while outranked by the CENTCOM leaders, had been studying ISIS and other terrorist groups for years and thought their expert views weren’t being given full weight.
In May 2015, CENTCOM analysts formally complained to the inspectors general for the Defense Intelligence Agency and for the intelligence community, which passed the complaints on to the congressional committees. Seven months later, an internal survey of intelligence analysts revealed that 40 percent of respondents “had experienced an attempt to distort or suppress intelligence in the past year,” the report found.
“The survey results alone should have prompted CENTCOM and [intelligence community] leaders to take corrective action without other inducements. During interviews, however, multiple Intelligence Directorate senior leaders challenged the legitimacy of the survey results rather than taking responsibility for them,” the report found.
The amount of damage such misleading reports had on the Obama administration’s and the military’s overall understanding of the war on ISIS remains unclear. But the report noted that Ryckman and Grove had several secure conference calls with top civilian intelligence officials, including the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, and that such access gave CENTCOM’s reports “outsized influence on the material presented to the president outside of formal coordination channels.”
“The impact was that you have a false signal being sent to officials,” Pompeo told The Daily Beast. “They had information what wasn’t true. It difficult to wind back and say what would have happened had they had different information.”
As part of a normal personnel rotation, Grove left CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate this summer and now is stationed at the Pentagon as director of the Army Quadrennial Defense Review Office. He has been replaced by Maj. Gen. Mark R. Quantock. Ryckman remains in the same position.
“U.S. Central Command has seen the Congressional Joint Task Force initial report and we appreciate the independent oversight provided,” Navy Cmdr. Kyle Raines, a CENTCOM spokesman, said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “We are reviewing the findings of the initial report; since the Joint Task Force investigation is ongoing, as is the [Defense Department Inspector General’s] investigation, we will refrain from further comment at this time.”
The Defense investigation is expected to be released by the end of this year.
The task force investigation in ongoing, Pompeo said, and he hopes to release a final report by the end of the year.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/article...war-intel.html
__________________
O Israel
The LORD bless you and keep you;
The LORD make His face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The LORD lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace.

Asymmetric Warfare It’s not just for the “Other Guys”

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