Shane Harris and Nancy A. Youssef dig deeper into what ought to be the worst (and certainly most dangerous) scandal of the Obama White House — the politicalization of Middle East intel:
The Obama administration is now considering modifying the Syrian train-and-equip program, while the White House attempts to portray the president as having always been skeptical of it.
Meanwhile, Pentagon investigators are examining the back-and-forth between the intelligence bosses at CENTCOM and the analysts, which created a paper trail. Favorable reports had fewer comments written on them, and requests that were more critical showed heavy questioning, the two officials said.
The altering of intelligence led to reports that overstated the damage that U.S. strikes had on specific ISIS targets. For instance, strikes on oil refineries and equipment were said to have done more damage to the group’s financing of operations through illicit oil sales than the analysts believed. Also, strikes on military equipment were said to have set back the group’s ability to wage combat operations, when the analysts believed that wasn’t always the case.
The altered reports made ISIS seem financially weakened and less capable of launching attacks, the analysts allege.[Emphasis added]
Please note that the Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom’s new strategy is to sell himself as a critical skeptic of his own strategy.
It gets worse, as one whistleblower’s story is reported by Sarah Westwood:
Reports about terror activity in Iraq have been “grossly thrown to the side” by officials in U.S. Central Command since the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011, according to a former Army official with the command, in an attempt to paint a rosy picture of the coalition’s efforts in the Middle East.
Retired Army Sgt. 1st Class William Kotel told the Washington Examiner that he was pushed out of his position after raising concerns about “missing pieces” in reports for Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East. He had attempted to include in his official reports information about an Iraqi target that had allegedly stolen U.S. money from the Central Bank of Iraq. But the intelligence was stripped from his final report at the behest of his superiors, he said.
Kotel, who was noncommissioned officer in charge of the Joint Targets Enterprise, said warnings about imminent terror attacks in Iraq were required to be routed through a maze of Pentagon channels, a process that could take weeks, instead of communicated directly with military units in harm’s way.
He said the policy of substituting economic or environmental information for terror-related intelligence in reports was never made explicit by Central Command’s leadership, but that he and his colleagues had “implied orders” not to report facts on the ground in Iraq.
“Implied orders” reminds me of Willie Cicci’s “buffers” from The Godfather Part II.
The Obama White House has the ethics of Nixon, the strength of Carter, and the war fighting acumen of Johnson.
That’s the Trifecta of Fail.