Whether it was because they understood that the president was determined to ignore inconvenient threat assessments, or because they were under direct orders, top Obama officials pressured analysts to downplay “multiple assessments” from military intelligence and the CIA regarding the “rapid rise” of ISIS in Iraq and North Africa in the year before the group took over huge swaths of Iraq in 2014.
Emails obtained by the Pentagon inspector general reveal that intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command were pressured to avoid negative assessments about the Islamic State threat and were even at one point told to “cut it out.” Moreover, sources are accusing two senior intelligence officials at CENTCOM of “deleting emails and files from computer systems before the inspector general could examine them.”
Via Fox News:
Fox News is told by a source close to the CENTCOM analysts that the pressure on them included at least two emails saying they needed to “cut it out” and “toe the line.”
Separately, a former Pentagon official told Fox News there apparently was an attempt to destroy the communications. The Pentagon official said the email warnings were “not well received” by the analysts.
Those emails, among others, are now in the possession of the Pentagon inspector general. The IG’s probe is expanding into whether intelligence assessments were changed to give a more positive picture of the anti-ISIS campaign.
“This is rich,” said Andrew Peek, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, on Fox News yesterday. “How rich was it for the president to give a news conference where he essentially explained to all the reporters who were too dumb to get it — and to all of us — how much better his advisers were to anyone else’s.”
“Of course he likes them, right?” Peek laughed. “They tell him what he wants to hear! I think this is appalling.”
It appears that Obama’s yes-men have been caught trying to cover their tracks.
The Daily Beast reports that the allegations of misconduct include a possible cover-up, with some analysts accusing two senior officials at CENTCOM, Maj. Gen. Steven Grove and his civilian deputy, Gregory Ryckman, of deleting incriminating emails.
One U.S. official said the alleged activity could amount to obstruction and interference with the inspector general’s investigation, which began last summer. He noted that files relevant to the investigation began to disappear from Centcom computers after the Pentagon watchdog’s staff began their work.
Two sources said that investigators are piecing together a trail of emails and reports to find out what may have been deleted, as well as what officials outside CENTCOM knew about potential manipulation of intelligence.
The Guardian reported back in September that the director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was in “frequent and unusual contact” with Army Major General Steven Grove – “which is highly, highly unusual,” according to a former intelligence official.
Grove is said to be implicated in a Pentagon inquiry into manipulated war intelligence.
In communications, Clapper, who is far more senior than Grove, is said to tell Grove how the war looks from his vantage point, and question Grove about Central Command’s assessments. Such a situation could place inherent pressure on a subordinate, sources said.
As the Daily Beast reported, Grove is now suspected of deleting incriminating emails.
James Clapper, meanwhile, has been at the center of several Obama-era controversies.
In February of 2011, he testified before Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is “largely secular,” has “eschewed violence,” decries al-Qaeda as a “perversion of Islam,” and really just wants “social ends” and “a betterment of the political order in Egypt.”
This was a little over a year before the Obama administration’s preferred candidate — a Muslim Brotherhood leader — won Egypt’s presidential election. It took only a year of his ruthless reign for Egyptians to throw Morsi and his Islamist henchmen out and have them arrested. So much for the “betterment of the political order in Egypt.”
On Sept 28, 2012, DNI James Clapper fell on his sword for Obama on Libya.
Regarding the infamous Benghazi talking points, he said, “I got it wrong – not the White House.”
Ace of Spades HQ made a very perceptive observation at the time.
Now people are saying it was indeed Clapper. Actually they’re saying it was his office — the Director of National Intelligence — and any of several people might have made the changes.
But I will stick with Clapper. He’s proven himself to be a perfect Obama appointee, by which I mean incompetent and eminently malleable in his claims according to Obama’s political needs.
During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing in March of 2013, Clapper seemingly lied under oath.
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) had asked him whether the National Security Agency collects data on millions of Americans.
Clapper insisted that the NSA does not — or at least does “not wittingly” — collect any information on Americans in bulk.
After documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the NSA collects records on virtually all U.S. phone calls, Clapper apologized for the false comment.
In early 2015, while the president was brokering a nuclear deal with Iran, the annual Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities did not include Iran or Hezbollah after years in which they were featured in similar reports.
Clapper cited “a change in formatting” as the reason for their removal, an explanation that John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the UN, called a “flat lie.”
It’s worth noting here that investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson last week revealed that intel sources have been telling her that President Obama refuses to listen to intelligence assessments of certain terrorist groups which he doesn’t consider terrorists.
“Designated Fall Guy” James Clapper never did take the fall for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2012 over Benghazi, but three years later he and two officials at CENTCOM seem to be skating on very thin ice. It remains to be seen whether any of this tommyrot reaches the Oval Office.