National Security Desk / Jan. 13, 2017

House Panel: The Intel Was Cooked

Analysts were pressured to make rosier-than-real assessments of ISIL.

A House panel was tasked with investigating allegations that CENTCOM leadership pressured analysts to downplay intelligence on the threat posed by the Islamic State. This week, the panel announced it found those accusations to be credible. In other words, the intel was cooked. As we wrote in 2015, several intelligence analysts reported that they were “bullied” into drawing conclusions not supported by the facts. While the House panel didn’t find any direct connections to or orders from the White House — they wouldn’t given the lengths to which Barack Obama would have gone to cover those tracks — it’s not a stretch to conclude that those in leadership desired to produce intelligence that supported Obama’s re-election narrative on the situation in the Middle East, namely that the Islamic State he created was not an ominous threat. After all they were the “JV-team.”

The House committee doesn’t have the authority to directly punish any CENTCOM officials who may have acted inappropriately, but it can push lawmakers to curtail funding. The Department of Defense inspector general has also been investigating the allegations and will release a report in the fall. DOD does have the power to make recommendations to which CENTCOM would be beholden.

Irrespective of the findings, this just adds to the legacy of Obama’s foreign policy being based primarily upon faulty ideology rather than reality. His views on the threat of the Islamic State seem to have proceeded from wishful thinking rather than honest and sober reflection.

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