Faced with questions during his Senate testimony about an ongoing Pentagon investigation into intelligence tampering by Central Command (Centcom), Centcom commander Gen. Lloyd Austin refused to discuss the matter directly, but did deny that he’d ever ordered any “skewing” of intelligence reports.
The investigation stems from complaints by analysts at the DIA, the Pentagon’s main intelligence body, who say that Centcom took their reports, edited them so the conclusions were more upbeat about the war against ISIS, and passed them on to Congress and the president as the basis for policy decisions.
The investigation is being conducted by the Inspectors General, who have already informed Congress, based on their preliminary findings, that the intelligence reports they’ve received were likely “reworked” to defend Centcom’s position that the war is going well.
Centcom is struggling to figure out what their official stance on this is, initially defending the skewing of the intelligence as totally within their purview as the ones managing the war, and now insisting that the edits they made were totally innocuous and that the reports remained pessimistic.
Gen. Austin insisted that he would take unspecified “action” if the allegations turn out to be true, but Centcom’s narrative on the matter suggests that they consider anything they did to manipulate intelligence as totally their call, and they seem to be viewing the probe as an unwelcome intrusion.