Pentagon politics and pressure from the White House are warping our Middle East/ISIS intel assessments, according to this Daily Beast report from Shane Harris and Nancy Youssef:
The complaints allege that in some cases key elements of intelligence reports were removed, resulting in a document that didn’t accurately capture the analysts’ conclusions, sources familiar with the protest said. But the complaint also goes beyond alleged altering of reports and accuses some senior leaders at CENTCOM of creating an unprofessional work environment. One person who knows the contents of the written complaint sent to the inspector general said it used the word “Stalinist” to describe the tone set by officials overseeing CENTCOM’s analysis.
Many described a climate in which analysts felt they could not give a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq and Syria. Some felt it was a product of commanders protecting their career advancement by putting the best spin on the war.
Some reports crafted by the analysts that were too negative in their assessment of the war were sent back down the chain of the command or not shared up the chain, several analysts said. Still others, feeling the climate around them, self-censored so their reports affirmed already-held beliefs.
We have no idea what’s really going on over there, and nobody in charge seems to want to know what’s really going on over there. This is worse, potentially far worse, than the intelligence failures about Saddam Hussein’s chemical weapons program.
One more thought for you.
When you see President Obama or some top brass go on TV to assure us that we’re winning against ISIS, maybe they actually believe it.