From the first moments President Obama took office, he has downplayed threats from radical Islamists. He was elected based on his promise to bring the troops home. He was reelected after claiming that al -Qaeda was “decimated.” Al-Qaeda was nothing of the sort. And while the United States withdrew from the Middle East, an even darker and more heinous threat filled the void.
It’s been known for over a year that the administration is downplaying the threat posed by ISIS.
Even as Pentagon spokesmen were painting a rosy picture of the coalition’s progress, the terrorists were gaining huge swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, leaving a horrifying path of destruction in their wake.
Now, an IG investigation is looking into whether the ISIS analysis was purposefully distorted.
According to the New York Times, “the Pentagon’s inspector general is investigating allegations that military officials have skewed intelligence assessments about the United States-led campaign in Iraq against the Islamic State to provide a more optimistic account of progress….”
The investigation began after at least one civilian Defense Intelligence Agency analyst told the authorities that he had evidence that officials at United States Central Command — the military headquarters overseeing the American bombing campaign and other efforts against the Islamic State — were improperly reworking the conclusions of intelligence assessments prepared for policy makers, including President Obama, the government officials said.
Apparently — if you believe the New York Times‘ spin — poor Obama didn’t know any of this was going on. He read about it first in the newspaper and he’s as outraged as anybody.
Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) was on Fox News Wednesday to discuss this latest Obama scandal.
“The news media is getting this dead wrong,” Peters began in measured tones. “It is not intelligence professionals spinning stuff to persuade anybody. The pressure is from the administration and the White House. We have never before – NEVER! – had an administration that viewed the intelligence community as primarily a tool of domestic politics. You’ve seen them lie about Benghazi. Last year they fired LTG. Mike Flynn, the head of DIA, because he wouldn’t cook the books. They’ve lied about Iran, they’ve lied about Islamic State.”
Peters continued, “The president was warned about the Islamic State — he ignored it and then he blamed the intelligence community…so don’t blame the worker bees! The problem started in upper management where you’ve got the commissars. And this administration brings a lot of pressure for the intelligence committee to cook the books and spin it in the way the administration wants the American people to hear it. Again – they’re viewing intelligence as a tool of domestic policy. It is corrupting. It is very, very dangerous, it cripples our ability to deal with our enemies — but this administration is simply shameless.”
On Fox Business Thursday, terrorism analyst Erick Stakelbeck explained the reason for Obama’s subterfuge on ISIS.
“Remember — he didn’t want to get involved with this in the first place in this fight against ISIS, but his hand was forced when journalists started being beheaded in the sands of Syria,” Stakelbeck began. “Then there was pressure from the American people to do something.”
He continued, “President Obama does not see ISIS as any kind of existential threat to the West. He sees terrorism and the rise of Jihad as more of a criminal action that we can decide in federal courts, and not on the battlefield. That’s who he is and it’s not a big surprise that the intel community is basically trying to please their boss with these reports on ISIS.”
“President Obama is going to look to manage this crisis until he leaves office, doing just enough to make it look like he’s doing something; limited airstrikes — which are not enough — not arming the Kurds like we should be. Look — ISIS remains a monster in the Middle East. They still control Mosul and Ramadi,” Stakelbeck pointed out. “They’re running sex-slave markets, they’re still beheading people left and right, destroying antiquities in Syria…”
Stakelbeck noted that a key point is the fact that ISIS is growing here in the United States.
“Since the beginning of this year alone, we’ve had dozens of arrests on American soil of U.S. citizens pledging allegiance to ISIS and looking to carry out attacks right here,” he said.
* Correction: an earlier version of this post labeled Lt. General Mike Flynn, Lt. Col.