Revolt of the spies: DoD analysts claim CENTCOM doctored reports about war on ISIS

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Senior officials at US Central Command altered intelligence reports on the war against ISIS in order to back the government claims the fighting was going well, a complaint by 52 defense analysts to the Pentagon’s inspector general allegedly says.

Two senior analysts at CENTCOM filed a formal complaint in July, alleging their reports were altered in order to portray Islamist terror groups in Syria and Iraq as far weaker than they actually were. Fifty more analysts have endorsed the complaint, the Daily Beast reported Thursday, citing eleven government officials familiar with the investigation.

The reports affected dealt with both Islamic State and Jabhat-al-Nusra, an Al-Qaeda affiliate responsible for the destruction of US-trained 'moderate' fighters. Some of the doctored reports were used to brief the highest government officials, including President Barack Obama.

Among the officials accused are the director of intelligence at CENTCOM and his deputy. “The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

One of the sources familiar with the written complaint says the tone set by officials overseeing the analysts at CENTCOM was described as “Stalinist,” the Daily Beast claims. Military commanders were trying to protect their careers by putting the best spin on the war, some of the analyst said.

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News of the complaint and the subsequent investigation was leaked to the New York Times in August. This is the first time the extent of the revolt among the defense analysts has been revealed, however. Many of the analysts involved are officially employed by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), but have been assigned to work with CENTCOM, the US military command overseeing operations in the Middle East and Central Asia.

The Obama administration has claimed for months that the US-led coalition has been winning the war against the self-styled Caliphate.

"There's a great deal of energy and effort being put into this and I am confident that over time, we will beat, we will, indeed, degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL, yes,” Secretary of State John Kerry told ABC in in March.

“ISIS is losing,” John Allen, the retired Marine general tasked with coordinating the campaign against the group, told the Aspen Security Forum in July.

The “difficult” war against IS was “going to take some time,” Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said during a news briefing in August. “I’m confident that we will succeed in defeating ISIL and that we have the right strategy,” he added.

“No, I don’t think we’re losing,” President Obama said in the big interview for The Atlantic in May, calling the loss of Ramadi “a tactical setback.” Ramadi and Fallujah have since remained in IS hands, while Palmyra fell to the group a day after the interview.

On September 10, 2014, Obama announced the start of a coalition operation against the self-proclaimed Islamic State, vowing to “degrade, and ultimately destroy” the group. Over 53,000 flights, 6700 strikes, and nearly $4 billion dollars later, Operation Inherent Resolve has yet to achieve any of its objectives.