News & Politics

Survey: 40 Percent of CENTCOM Analysts Say ISIS Intel Was Skewed

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

During a House Intelligence Committee hearing this morning, a top Republican congressman revealed that 40 percent of the analysts working at the U.S. military’s Central Command believe there are problems with “analytic integrity” and with “CENTCOM processes” in their work regarding the war against ISIS. Via The Daily Beast:

Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, surveyed senior intelligence officials about the figure, which was discovered in a recent survey of analysts by the country’s top intelligence office. The survey was first reported by The Daily Beastthis month.

“To me, it seems like if 40 percent of analysts are concerned at CENTCOM, that’s just something that can’t be ignored,” Nunes told top intelligence officials testifying before the committee, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan.

“I would consider that unusually high,” Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said of the 40 percent figure. “We’ve already had requests where there’s been a dispute at CENTCOM where we’ve sent out an ombudsman there to look at the analytic rigor.”

There are more than 1,000 analysts working at CENTCOM, so at least 400 people voiced concerns about their work, according to the survey.

The survey was conducted by a unit in Clapper’s office last year to look into allegations that “politics or other factors were inappropriately influencing intelligence analysis.”

The relevant portion of the video begins at 21:17:

CENTCOM whistleblowers have been alleging for months that some of their reports have been skewed by their bosses in order to paint a rosier picture of what was happening on the ground in the Middle East than could be supported by the facts.

The Beast reports that “sources familiar with the analysts’ allegations have said they focused in particular on the two top officials in charge of analysis at CENTCOM.” According to one defense official, “the cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command.”

Whistleblowers have lodged similar complaints about skewed ISIS intelligence with the Defense Department’s inspector general, who is investigating the matter. That review is expected to be finished by spring, according to officials.

John Schindler, a former NSA analyst, summed up his feelings on the situation on Twitter: “I can testify that CENTCOM J2 was a LOT less messed up in 2002-03, in OIF (Operation Iraqi Freedom) run-up, than at present.”