A former brigadier general revealed on Fox News Monday some new information about the White House’s role in U.S. Central Command’s skewing of intelligence to downplay the threats of ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Last week, a House Republican task force concluded in a 15-page report that U.S. military leaders altered intelligence reports “to paint a rosier picture” of the U.S.-led fight against ISIS than intelligence analysts believed was warranted.
The report blamed “structural and management changes” at the intelligence directorate for the distortions, but stopped short of explaining WHY the changes were made. According to Defense News, “the problems followed the change in Central Command’s leadership from Marine Gen. James Mattis, as CENTCOM commander, to Army Gen. Lloyd Austin.”
U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Anthony Tata (Ret.) filled in some blanks on Fox News Monday afternoon, and if his allegations are true, the scandal reaches all the way to the president’s inner circle.
Tata explained that since Obama withdrew troops from Iraq, “there’s been chaos all over the Middle East.” But because the president campaigned on getting out of Iraq, he didn’t want to hear anything that countered his narrative that it was the right thing to do.
When the official narrative contradicted the facts on the ground, members of the intelligence community cried foul and there was a meeting to deal with the issue.
Tata revealed that a source verified to him that he was directed by an individual from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, who conducts the president’s daily briefing, to stop producing “products of record” that did not fit the administration’s narrative of a defeated Al Qaeda and a non-threatening enemy in ISIS.
Tata said that the president’s briefer told this individual to call him on secure line if he had any intelligence that portrayed ISIS in a stronger light than what the president had characterized to the public, which would not leave a paper trail.
He said that this distortion of intelligence on ISIS essentially led to the U.S. ignoring the growing threat and giving the terror group two years to take root.
Tata said that it was “highly irresponsible” for a senior official to downplay the intelligence because “now we have a real, valid national security threat that was borne out of this directive to Central Command.” He added that “now there are actually people being reprised against.”
“You have good American soldiers, sailors, Marines and civilians that are being isolated and targeted by people that are in the J-2 [CENTCOM’s intelligence directorate],” Tata said.
Asked if there had been people who were denied promotions, Tata indicated that it was worse than that: “I think they’ve been run out of the service,” he answered.
As PJ Media reported in April, two senior intelligence analysts at U.S. Central Command were allegedly forced out of their jobs because of their skeptical reporting on U.S.-backed rebel groups in Syria.
Tata cited for example “one young lady who spent $140,000 on legal bills” to defend herself against “this kind of thing.”
“She ultimately won,” Tata noted, but her career has been ruined.
As for the White House connection, the general said, “It could have been the president saying, ‘Don’t tell me this.’ Or it could have been the briefer going back after a rough meeting saying, ‘Hey look, don’t give me anymore of this stuff. I don’t want to bring it to the president.'”