DAMNING

House Probe: CENTCOM’s ISIS Intel Cooked

Toby Melville/Reuters

The House Republican Joint Task Force charged with investigating allegations that officials from the U.S. military’s Central Command altered intelligence reports to portray the U.S. fight against ISIS and al Qaeda in a more positive light released its findings and made some damning conclusions.

Among them: CENTCOM leadership changed analysts’ assessments, failed to address mounting concerns about altered reports and that the positive assessments were reflected in CENTCOM press releases and congressional testimony. 

The report vindicated more than a year of The Daily Beast’s reporting on CENTCOM's handling of its analysts' reports.  

“While senior leaders denied that operational reporting was biased in a particular direction, multiple analysts disagreed, noting that the deference to operational reporting resulted in analysis that was more positive regarding the capabilities of the [Iraq Security Forces] and the progress of the fight against [ISIS] than could be justified or supported by the vetted, serialized intelligence reporting on which analysts customarily rely,” the report found. “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.”

“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 DoD IG's investigation, we will refrain from further comment at this time.”

—Nancy A. Youssef