While most of the Pentagon is going out of its way to avoid comment on yesterday’s revelation of an ongoing inspectors general investigation into deliberate “skewing” of intelligence assessments on the ISIS war by Centcom, the Central Command itself is defiant, insisting that it acted entirely appropriately in its reports.
In their new statement, Centcom insisted that just because they sought “feedback” from sources like the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) didn’t mean they had to include their comments in the final assessment sent on to policy makers, and that they, as the “primary agency” in the war, get to decide what does or doesn’t get sent on.
That appears to be virtually the exact opposite of what the rules say, as they emphasize the importance of conclusions giving attention to all sides of assessments, and indeed the DIA analyst who started the complaints insisted that Centcom was taking unvarnished DIA assessments, changing the conclusions to sound more upbeat, and passing them along as a consensus viewpoint.
This does seem to be in keeping with what the public has seen as Centcom’s “assessments” too, as in many cases they include extremely negative details about the war, like a solid year of US airstrikes not making ISIS any weaker, then wrap them up with a contradictory conclusion insisting everything is just fine irrespective of that, and predicting visible progress in the near future.
The inspectors general also appear to be giving credence to the DIA complaints, as reports are that they formally informed the Congressional intelligence committees of the possibility that the reports they’ve been getting on the ISIS war were deliberately “reworked” to sound more upbeat than reality, and upgraded their initial inquiry into a full-scale investigation.
That so many in the Pentagon are so eager to avoid comment underscores that this inquiry goes well beyond usual cross-agency disagreements, and into serious doubts about whether or not the intelligence being produced on one of America’s largest wars is being deliberately altered to make the war sound like less of a failure.