A new report from the House Republicans’ Joint Task Force on U.S. Central Command Intelligence Analysis has concluded that military leaders distorted information to portray the fight against ISIS in a much more optimistic way than un-doctored analytics and actual events would indicate.
The Joint Task Force was created five months ago to investigate a whistleblower’s allegations that “intelligence produced by U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) had been manipulated to present an unduly positive outlook on CENTCOM efforts to train the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).” Although the investigation is still ongoing, the task force released an unclassified report Thursday that details their interim conclusions.
The report concludes that starting in mid-2014, there was a “consistent trend” across intelligence reports that showed a much rosier outlook on ISIL coming from CENTCOM than coming from other parts of the intelligence community. The report also accuses CENTCOM of putting a “significantly more positive” spin on their press releases, statements, and congressional testimonies. The report places most of the blame on “structural and management changes” that took place at CENTCOM in 2014.
House Intelligence Committee and task force member Mike Pompeo said in a statement that Central Command’s top officials had worked to “downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq,” which may have “[put] American troops at risk as policymakers relied on this intelligence when formulating policy and allocating resources for the fight.”